On 24 July 2020, the European Commission announced that at a meeting of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body, the European Union, backed by ten other members of the World Trade Organization (Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Switzerland), submitted a joint communication calling for more transparency in respect of trade-related measures introduced by partners around the world in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The aim is to avoid unnecessary obstacles to trade that could get in the way of the economic recovery.

The announcement said the signatories are committed to lead by example. They will notify all measures as early as practicable, reduce to the extent possible the number and duration of new trade measures and actively contribute to the monitoring of trade measures carried by the WTO Secretariat. They also invite other WTO members to implement the same level of transparency.

This communication delivers on one of the six policy actions identified in the June 2020 statement ‘Focusing Action on Covid-19‘ by the Ottawa Group of 13 like-minded WTO partners.