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WTO, IMF, World Bank Call for Lifting Trade Restrictions

WTO, IMF, World Bank Call for Lifting Trade Restrictions
folder_openInternational News access_time2 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

The removal of trade restrictions would ease the global food crisis by minimizing supply disruptions and reducing prices, a joint statement by the World Trade Organization [WTO], World Bank and International Monetary Fund [IMF] read.

“Facilitating trade and improving the functioning and resilience of global markets for food and agriculture… are key,” the groups said on Friday.

“The 2008 crisis taught us that imposing global trade restrictions leads directly to increases in food prices. Removing export restrictions and adopting inspections and licensing processes that are more flexible help minimize supply disruptions and lower prices.”

The joint statement was published on the World Bank’s website, and was authored by its president, David Malpass, along with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasley.

They noted that the Covid-19 pandemic, disruptions in international supply chains, and the fallout from Russia’s military operation in Ukraine have severely disrupted food, fuel and fertilizer markets. Some 345 million people in 82 countries are currently at risk of food insecurity, according to the WFP. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that around 25 countries have food export restrictions that affect more than 8% of global food trade, and fertilizer prices have doubled over the past year.

As well as lifting trade restrictions, the officials said the food crisis could also be eased by providing immediate support to the most vulnerable countries by facilitating the purchase of food for humanitarian purposes. Boosting production and investing in climate-resilient agriculture are also seen as necessary measures, they said.

The authors of the statement also stressed the need to find a diplomatic solution for the supply of Ukrainian grain and fertilizers, which are currently blocked due to the conflict in the country. President Volodymyr Zelensky said in early June that up to 25 million tons of agricultural products were blocked due to the crisis.