G20 Trade Ministers Release Statement on COVID-19
The G20 Trade Ministers met virtually on March 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic to discuss stepping up cooperation and coordination to protect human life and lay the foundations for a strong economic recovery and a sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth after the crisis. Following the meeting, the Trade Ministers posted a statement.
The statement emphasized: “As we fight the pandemic both individually and collectively and seek to mitigate its impacts on international trade and investment, we will continue to work together to deliver a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open.”
USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan noted the significance of all G20 members being able to agree on this statement as a much-needed coordinated response to the crisis and is hopeful that governments will soon follow up with more specific action items they will implement to keep trade open and facilitate the flow of essential goods for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
In advance of the G20 Trade Ministers meeting, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) sent a letter from its Secretary General John Denton, which included ten concrete actions that trade ministers can take now to speed up the health response for COVID-19 and minimize the economic damage. It also included points on the need to maintain momentum on World Trade Organization (WTO) reform and e-commerce negotiations.
USCIB Concerned Over Draft “Buy American” Executive Order
USCIB joined a broad group of national trade associations, as well as state and local organizations, to send a letter to U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Steven T. Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Wilbur Ross and the National Economic Council’s Lawrence Kudlow expressing concern over the Administration’s draft “Buy American” executive order.
The group believes that such an order could be counterproductive in the Administration’s ongoing efforts with American allies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and warns that the order may delay the discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine and other treatments, worsen shortages of critically-needed medicines and medical products, and undermine prospects for economic recovery.
The letter states: “Now more than ever, U.S. industries require access to international supply chains to produce critically-needed medical products. The United States simply does not produce all of the raw materials or intermediate goods that are essential to drug development or production of the medical equipment needed to thwart this pandemic. Preventing federal agencies from sourcing medical equipment and pharmaceutical ingredients from abroad — or that are made with non U.S. inputs — would only exacerbate the supply shortages racking the United States.”
The coalition also applauded the Administration’s focused response to the pandemic and emphasized that American companies will do whatever it takes to support America’s pandemic response and will continue to work hand in glove with government to get the job done.
Coronavirus Impact on ATA Carnet in the United States
USCIB, as the national guaranteeing and issuing association in the U.S. for ATA Carnets, along with our service providers, Boomerang Carnets and Roanoke, have been watching with concern reports of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact to ATA Carnet holders and the business community at large.
In our role as an advocate for global trade and a passionate supporter of its importance to growth and prosperity, USCIB believes that every effort should be made to balance legitimate health and safety concerns with the imperative to actively support the free flow of goods and services across borders. In that spirit, we will work with Foreign National Guaranteeing Associations and National Customs Administrations to attempt to mitigate any ATA Carnet claims for U.S. issued Carnets that are caused by restrictions in the country of re-exportation due to the virus.
USCIB has been in contact with China Customs and have received their support on dealing with any future claims on U.S. issued Carnets. At the same time, USCIB also plans to work with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in efforts to help mitigate any Chinese Carnets impacted by the virus on re-exportation from the U.S. It is important to note, however, that all holders should keep as much documentation (e.g. airline ticket cancellations/rebookings, hotel reservation extension etc..) as possible to support their case.
ICC, B20, World Health Organization Call for Coordinated Global Response to COVID-19
In a collective call to action ahead of this week’s virtual G20 Summit, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Business Twenty (B20) and the World Health Organization (WHO), have set out proposed measures to enable a coordinated global response to effectively contain the potential human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter to G20 heads of state and government, issued on March 23, the three organizations underscored the vital role of the G20 in stemming the growing human and economic costs of the current crisis.
“We reiterate our firm view that only effective global cooperation can contain the potential human and economic toll of COVID-19. The limits of inward-looking policies are already patently clear,” the letter states.
Measures outlined in the letter for immediate action are:
- To ensure infection control and medical products reach the hands of those who need them the most;
- To use the private sector to help meet the need for testing and related reporting;
- To ensure equitable access and affordability of essential medical supplies and health services; and
- To scale financial assistance to ensure no-one is left behind in dealing with potential effects of COVID-19.
The letter also calls for a G20 pledge to work together to mitigate economic damages incurred by the pandemic, prioritizing urgent stimulus and safeguard measures to support MSMEs and avoid rampant unemployment.