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MNI POLICY: Medical, Food Supply Hurt By Protectionism:IMF/WTO

By Ryan Hauser
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The COVID-19 pandemic will be exacerbated by
"dangerously counterproductive" export controls that hurt the flow of essential
food and medical supplies and may put them out of reach of poorer countries, the
IMF and WTO warned on Friday. 
     The organizations called on governments "to refrain from imposing or
intensifying export and other trade restrictions" and "to work to promptly
remove those put in place since the start of the year." They pointed to a 2008
open-trade pledge made by countries during the global financial crisis as a
model for the agreement.
     Without such a pledge, protectionist policies could start a downward 
spiral that would "disrupt supply chains, depress production, and misdirect
scarce, critical products and workers away from where they are most needed,"
their statement said.
     Export curbs on medical goods are reducing global supplies, similar to 2008
when restrictions of food agricultural workers caused uncertainty and price
hikes. The IMF and WTO also highlighted the need for more trade finance,  which
they said is critical to the supply of food and medical goods.
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202 371 2121; email:
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