On Monday, March 30, 2020, trade ministers of the G20 countries issued a joint statement stating that any emergency measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic must be temporary and consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Several governments, including India and Germany, have already implemented export restrictions on medical supplies, and there are concerns throughout supply chains that government responses to the pandemic could result in unnecessary and cumbersome trade barriers. The G20 trade leaders attempted to ease those concerns by pledging to comply with WTO rules, but notably did not pledge to avoid new trade restrictions as they did in response to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Analysts had also hoped that G20 countries would commit to temporarily suspending all tariffs on key medical goods, but that does not seem to have resulted from this week’s discussions.
Husch Blackwell continues to monitor governments’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic and how they may impact global trade and logistics. If your company has any questions or concerns about navigating global trade during these uncertain times, please contact our International Trade and Supply Chain team.