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S. Korea calls for 'contingency guidelines' to keep up trade amid crisis

All News 16:30 May 12, 2020

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday suggested that the World Trade Organization (WTO) draw up "contingency guidelines" to brace for major events, such as the ongoing new coronavirus pandemic, that could put global trade under major strain.

Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee made the remark during the virtual meeting with WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, where the two shared ideas on ways to minimize the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.

During the meeting, Yoo said it is important for WTO members to set guidelines to brace for another unprecedented crisis, which can help them batten down the hatches in maintaining the global supply chain.

"To cope with the fast-changing trade environment in which the crisis and uncertainties are becoming the new normal, countries should also support the multilateral system, such as the WTO," Yoo said.

S. Korea calls for 'contingency guidelines' to keep up trade amid crisis - 1

Export-reliant South Korea has been calling for major trade partners to ease cross-border travel regulations for essential business officials and keep up trade without undermining global efforts to tackle the new coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Seoul also adopted a joint statement on allowing essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic with Singapore, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

They vowed to "establish guidelines to allow, on an exceptional basis, essential cross-border travel for purposes such as maintaining global supply chains," without disrupting global disinfection efforts.

The latest efforts by South Korea came as its exports, which suffered strains from the Sino-American trade war last year, have been showing no signs of recovery amid disrupted supply chains from the pandemic.

The country's exports declined a whopping 46.3 percent on-year in the first 10 days of May, data showed.

By segment, exports of memory chips, a key item, fell 17.8 percent, and those of automobiles plunged 80.4 percent over the 10 days from a year earlier. Shipments to China dropped 29.4 percent on-year, while shipments to the United States sank 54.8 percent.


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