Coronavirus disruption 'could lead to liberalization'

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

There may be a silver lining to coronavirus for world trade, it has been argued.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread economic disruption, with many countries fearing they could be facing their worst recessions in decades.

However, one expert has said he believes the situation could actually have a positive impact on global trade - by liberalizing it.

Speaking to a Westminster international trade committee, World Trade Organization (WTO) deputy director-general Alan Wolff said the crisis may spur nations on to drop tariffs and protectionist stances.

He pointed out that this was the case following the Great Depression in the 1930s, as well as during the exchange rate crises in 1971 and 1985.

"We have examples of major times where a crisis has led to a better place, to international agreement," Mr Wolff insisted.

He added that lowering tariffs may be a good first step in helping world trade recover from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the WTO is in the process of selecting a new director-general to replace Roberto Azevedo, who will step down from his position in August.