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 and Investment Ministers on March 30, organized by the Saudi presidency.
Following the meeting of the heads of state and government on March 26 on the G20 response to the Covid-19 epidemic, the ministers discussed the use of coordinated trade policy measures in the fight against the epidemic. They agreed on a statement setting out the following commitments:
- To ensure the continued flow of medical and health supplies, agricultural products and other essential goods to combat the epidemic, and to facilitate the trade in these goods in order to ensure that everyone has access to the means to protect the health of populations;
- To ensure that the export restrictions necessary to protect public health remain targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, and that they are consistent with WTO rules;
- To ensure an open, free, fair, non-discriminatory and transparent trade system;
- To monitor the impact of the epidemic on trade and investment.
The G20 Trade and Investment Working Group, which will be convened as necessary, has been tasked with continuing this work.
The minister of state notably stressed the key role of international trade both in the fight against the epidemic and with respect to economic recovery. He also underscored the importance of not turning toward protectionism and isolationism and of easing the trade tensions that already existed before the crisis, in order not to exacerbate the current situation or hamper the resumption of growth after the crisis. This notably calls for efforts to strengthen the WTO, which is at the heart of a multilateral system that is based on rules rather than power relations.
The communiqué adopted during this meeting is available on the G20 presidency website: