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Joint Ministerial Statement on action plans to facilitate the flow of goods and services as well as the essential movement of people

Trade and investment

Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia
  • Hon Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Canada
  • Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, New Zealand
  • Hon Yoo Myung-Hee, Minister for Trade, Republic of Korea
  • Hon Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore

Australia, Canada, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore

The COVID-19 outbreak has presented a global challenge that requires a coordinated global response. The G20 Trade and Investment Ministers, along with Ministers of attending guest invitees, in their Extraordinary Meeting held on March 30th 2020, reaffirmed their collective determination to ensure the continued flow of goods, services and personnel as well as maintaining the global supply chains.

Based on the G20 Ministerial Statement, we will identify concrete actions that could help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 and work with other countries to develop these actions as follows:

  1. Working to ensure the Flow of Goods in Global Supply Chains
    • Expedite customs procedures with a view to reducing processing times and related administrative burdens in accordance with national laws and regulations.
      • Encourage more use of electronic means for customs processing, which minimize face-to-face interactions without lengthening processing times.
      • Ensure facilitation of transport and customs clearances of essential goods, such as food, critical medical supplies and personal protection equipment.
    • Facilitate the timely flow of goods including essential supplies by ensuring operation of logistics networks via air, sea, and land freight.
      • Work out bilateral and/or multilateral cooperative arrangements to expedite necessary approval procedures for air crew and to utilise additional aircraft for cargo operations.
      • Promote transparency of import and export regulations to facilitate continued movement of goods.
    • Refrain from the introduction of export prohibitions or restrictions, tariffs and non-tariff barriers on essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and critical medical supplies. This underscores the importance of preserving the ability of countries to import essential medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and food to meet their domestic needs.
      • If such measures are instituted,
        • Ensure that measures are targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary and consistent with WTO rules.
        • Provide advance notification of the measure to the WTO as soon as practicable.
      • Work towards removing such measures when the situation allows for it.
    • Establish a consultation mechanism between the relevant authorities of the signatory countries to identify and address trade disruptions that affect the trade in essential goods.
  2. Facilitating the Essential Movement of People
    • Facilitate the resumption of essential cross-border travel, with mutual assurance of health standards, while ensuring the safeguarding of public health in line with our efforts to combat the pandemic as well as to minimize the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.
    • Establish guidelines to allow, on an exceptional basis, essential cross-border travel for purposes such as maintaining global supply chains, including essential business travel, in accordance with national laws and regulations, without undermining the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.
  3. Minimizing the Negative Impacts on Trade and Investment arising from the Pandemic to facilitate an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery
    • Reiterate and garner strong support for the rules-based international trade system, including WTO rules, and work closely with key multilateral economic institutions.
    • Provide relevant information to affected countries and to the WTO in a timely manner when adopting a measure with a foreseeable impact on international trade and investment.
    • Develop and share best practices including those for ensuring flows of goods and services, minimizing restrictions on people movement, and aiding sectors that are adversely affected by the pandemic.
    • Engage actively with the private sector to design and implement measures in a business-friendly manner and to work together for creative solutions.
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