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World Bank urges G20 to eliminate or cut import tariffs on COVID-19 products

World Bank urges G20 to eliminate or cut import tariffs on COVID-19 products
(file photo)

Washington, Mar 31 (UNI) Managing director for development policy and partnerships at the World Bank Mari Pangestu said that trade ministers of the Group of 20 countries should eliminate or cut tariffs on import of COVID-19 products to reduce the financial impact on poor nations.



“The G20 should eliminate or reduce tariffs on imports of COVID-19 products, as well as lower or temporarily suspend tariffs and export taxes on food and other basic goods to safeguard household incomes and business activity,” Pangestu said in remarks prepared for delivery at a virtual meeting of trade ministers from the bloc on Monday.

Pangestu also urged G20 nations to refrain from imposing new export restrictions on critical medical supplies, food or other key products, saying 17 countries with the highest COVID-19 cases were vital nodes in the global trade network. “Where such emergency measures are applied, they should be targeted, transparent, proportionate with the emergency needs, and time-bound.”

Developing countries were also at risk due to the limited supply of medical goods, Pangestu said.

“Global markets for the 17 products identified by the World Health Organization as key to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic are highly concentrated. The poorest countries are extremely vulnerable to policies in exporting countries, including trade restrictions on medical supplies – on top of the risk of being priced out of the markets by richer countries,” she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 775,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 37,000.

UNI XC-ASN 0408

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