WTO asks members to share COVID-19 trade measures

WTO asks members to share information on trade measures related to COVID-19

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has asked all its members to submit information regarding recent trade related measures taken in response to coronavirus outbreak.

India is member of the Geneva-based WTO since 1995. The global body deals with global exports and imports related norms.

WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo has "asked members to provide the Secretariat with information about their COVID-19 policies with trade implications, emphasising that whatever they submit would be used purely for transparency purposes".

The DG also stressed the importance of transparency with regard to trade-related measures, arguing that it would be particularly useful for the many countries that rely on imports for medical supplies.

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The WTO has set up a task force of experts to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on trade flows and the overall global economy.

"The current COVID-19 pandemic represents an almost unprecedented health crisis, and members are understandably responding by introducing legislation and policies to seek to combat this health emergency," according to Azevedo. 

These include steps that are trade-related, such as export measures and economic support programmes.

Seeking this information was part of a longstanding transparency exercise in which the WTO Secretariat compiles regular reports on trade-facilitating and restricting measures introduced by members of the group of 20 leading economies as well as by the WTO membership as a whole.

In the last few weeks, India has banned exports of products like sanitisers, all types of ventillators, masks and anti-malarial drug. 

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