By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it has adopted an action plan with other Group of 20 members that centers on maintaining the global supply chains and refraining from implementing new trade barriers as the new coronavirus pandemic continues to put great strains on business activities.
South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee discussed with her counterparts from the group of 20 advanced and emerging economies on late Thursday how to expand global cooperation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
During the virtual meeting, the ministers adopted "the G20 Actions to Support World Trade and Investment in Response to COVID-19," which suggested guidelines for the member states to minimize the socio-economic impacts of the virus.
The new coronavirus, which has infected at least 4.4 million around the world so far, disrupted trade and halted production around the globe, with a rising number of countries fully shutting their borders.
Under the action plan, the members vowed to "facilitate the resumption of essential cross-border travel, in accordance with national laws and regulations, while safeguarding public health in line with our efforts to combat the pandemic."
Members also agreed to refrain from making unnecessary regulations on the trade of foodstuffs and medical supplies, while avoiding disruptions of global supply chains and unnecessary barriers by following the rules of the World Trade Organization.
Countries are encouraged to utilize "electronic documentation and processes" to "streamline customs procedures" as well, the plan added.
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 adopted a joint statement on allowing essential travel with Singapore, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In a regional scale, South Korea renewed its call for Japan to lift trade regulations earlier this week, stressing they should join forces to abate uncertainties and overcome economic jitters sparked by the pandemic.
Despite South Korea emerging to become one of the earliest nations to recover from the peak of the pandemic, it was still not spared from the economic fallout of the virus.
The country saw its exports plunge a whopping 46.3 percent on-year in the first 10 days of May.
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