WTO trade pledge applauded

Canada has been involved in several international commitments to ensure trade continues with its partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Glacier FarmMedia – The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance is applauding the World Trade Organization for its commitment to stable international trade during the COVID-19 crisis.

Canadian officials joined other WTO countries in committing to maintain essential global links during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Maintaining strong trading relationships and open international markets is vital to economic recovery for export-dependent nations such as Canada.

Participating countries — which include Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom — said they would work together to co-ordinate a number of measures, including trade.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge. Maintaining strong co-ordination with our international partners is critical to mitigate the repercussions of the ongoing challenges we face. Keeping people, goods and services moving is key in both addressing these issues and ensuring the transition to a strong recovery,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Phillipe Champagne in a news release following the commitment.

CAFTA applauded the commitment, saying in a statement open international borders will maintain stability within the agri-food sector.

“We welcome commitments to not impose agriculture export restrictions that can impact trade flows, food availability and result in price volatility, and can lead to shortages of essential food products and inputs,” said CAFTA president Dan Darling in a statement. “This initiative will help avoid any unnecessary disruption of supply chains and ensure the adequate production and distribution of critical agri-food products.

“Commitments to not impose new barriers, to not stockpile food products destined for export and to maintain open dialogue amongst global trading partners will ensure food prices and food security remain stable.”

CAFTA represents Canadian agriculture and agri-food exporters, including those working in beef, pork, meat, grains, cereals, pulses, soybeans, canola and others.

Canada has been involved in several international commitments to ensure trade continues with its partners, including one that involved a pledge from all G20 countries. Despite COVID-19, the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is expected to be implemented July 1.

Canada also joined 15 WTO members, including China, last month in creating a way for appeals to continue solving trade disputes, despite the formal body being unable to do so. The United States failed to nominate anyone to the WTO’s appellate body, paralyzing the process. But the new arrangement replicates the work of the appellate body until a more permanent solution is found.

Recent forecasts show world trade is expected to fall between 13 and 32 per cent this year, with nearly all regions expected to experience double-digit declines in 2020.

About the author


D.C. Fraser

D.C. Fraser is Glacier FarmMedia’s Ottawa-based reporter. Growing up mostly in Alberta, Fraser also lived in Saskatchewan for ten years where he covered politics, including a stint teaching at the University of Regina’s School of Journalism. He is an avid fan of the outdoors and a pretty good beer league hockey player. His passion for agriculture and agri-food policy comes naturally: Six consecutive generations of his family have worked in the industry.



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