Free trade critical to fight against COVID-19 pandemic: report




According to a recent report from Global Trade Alert, over 20 countries have taken steps to ban or limit the export of medical equipment and medicines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating growing protectionism across the globe at a critical time.


The report titled "Tackling COVID-19 Together" from Global Trade Alert, a Swiss trade policy monitoring initiative, said that among the 46 export curbs on medical supplies introduced by 54 governments since the beginning of the year, 32 were announced in March, an indication of how quickly new trade limits are spreading across the globe.


The report indicated that the consequences of export curbs on medical ventilators highlight risks to developing countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Billions of people in developing countries are dependent on international trade for access to this critical technology," which helps patients suffering from advanced stages of COVID-19, it said.


Global Trade Alert called on countries to eliminate unilateral tariffs, and implement "a tariff-and-aid initiative that sweeps away the barriers which impede medical supplies reaching locations where there are desperately needed."

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