WTO: Restrictions on cross-border mobility affect world trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) published a recent report that reveals how trade in goods and services has been affected by cross-border restrictions in the wake of the pandemic.

In the report, the WTO secretariat describes how the mobility of people plays an important role in the provision and consumption of cross-border services, as well as in manufacturing value chains.

The document points out the broad travel barriers introduced in the early stage of the pandemic.

It highlights that mobility barriers have not only impacted on tourism services, but have also had a direct impact on trade chains.

This, due to its effect on transport services, information and transaction costs.

In the same way, the WTO report indicates that international cooperation plays a fundamental role in minimizing the economic impact generated by mobility restrictions.

Key points from the WTO report

The closure of borders, the reimposition of border controls and other travel bans, prevent landings and changes of maritime crews.

It points out that the measures cause disruptions in shipments, affect aircraft operations and generate congestion and delays in transportation.

It also highlights that for some countries the difficulties in importing items of different supplies, including food, have increased exponentially.

The report also shows that with the limited exception of workers in sectors qualified as essential, this exchange is stopped.

According to the WTO report, the exchange of information can help the member countries to foster greater resilience in the face of future crises.

Such an exercise could allow the identification of options to implement travel measures that meet the objectives of protecting public health while minimizing negative effects on trade.

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