Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in an extraordinary meeting of the G20 trade ministers on May 14, convened by the Saudi presidency.
Following the meeting of heads of state and government on March 26 on the G20 response to the Covid-19 epidemic, and as a follow-up to their previous meeting on March 30, the G20 trade ministers reaffirmed the importance of international coordination in order to avoid the devastating effects of Covid-19 on trade and the global economy.
The ministers adopted a series of collective short and long-term G20 actions to support global trade and investment in response to the Covid-19 epidemic. They notably reaffirm the need to ensure that the emergency trade measures, necessary in order to protect the population in a context of global shortages, remain targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, without creating unnecessary barriers to trade, while remaining in full compliance with WTO rules. The G20 states also urged against the adoption of restrictions on exports of food and agricultural products, which are essential in times of crisis.
Finally, they emphasized the importance of providing notification, in accordance with our obligations at the WTO, of all measures adopted during the crisis that have an impact on trade in order to ensure transparency and mutual monitoring of how these commitments are implemented.
In the longer term, the minister underscored the importance of ensuring greater predictability in the trade of goods and services and improving the business climate to limit the crisis’s economic impact. This will come about through the resiliency of value chains in the health sector, which demands the utmost degree of coordination within the WTO. He reiterated that the crisis highlighted the need to restore the central role of a rules-based, multilateral trading system, and called for reforming the WTO, whether by strengthening it, diversifying it, or making its value chains more resilient; defining shared rules for new forms of commerce such as e-commerce; and doing a better job of combining commerce with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Read the statement adopted at the end of the meeting.