WTO members apply 384 trade measures on Covid-19

Since the start of the pandemic, WTO Members have applied 384 trade measures related to Covid-19 in the area of ​​goods.

Of that total, 248 (65%) were intended to facilitate trade and 136 (35%) could be considered trade restrictive.

Several of those measures, initially introduced in immediate response to the pandemic, were extended from October 2020 to May 2021.

Export bans represented 84% of the total restrictive measures registered.

At the same time, the reduction or elimination of import tariffs and import taxes accounted for 60% of the trade facilitation measures adopted, and several Members reduced their tariffs on various products, such as PPE, antiseptics, disinfectants, medical equipment and drugs.

Also, several WTO Members and observers seriously affected by successive waves of the pandemic have eliminated import tariffs on certain products necessary to fight Covid-19, such as oxygen, oxygen cylinders, certain drugs and active ingredients.

Trade measures

WTO members continued to revoke measures applied in response to the pandemic and, by mid-May 2021, around 21% of trade facilitation measures related to Covid-19 and 54% of measures had been terminated. trade-restrictive measures related to the pandemic, indicating more rapid removal of restrictive measures.

57% of the 114 export restriction measures established since the start of the pandemic have been repealed.

The estimated value of trade covered by the facilitation measures related to Covid-19 applied since the beginning of the pandemic amounted to 291.6 billion dollars, while that of the restrictive measures related to Covid-19 amounted to 205.8 billion dollars.

According to preliminary calculations by the WTO Secretariat, the estimated value of trade covered by trade facilitation measures still in force ($ 107.6 billion) is somewhat higher than that of restrictive measures ($ 106 billion).

WTO Members continued to implement pandemic-related relief measures to mitigate the social and economic impact of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 106 Members and four observers have implemented at least 1,521 financial assistance measures related to COVID-19.


Measures include grants, loans or stimulus packages targeting sectors of the economy severely affected by the crisis, including agriculture, health, aviation, transport, tourism, education and culture, as well as fiscal measures and financial services to support commercial activity and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), as well as more general stimulus packages.

Most of these measures appeared to be temporary in nature, although some of those that were applied in the early phases of the pandemic have been extended into 2021.

Overall, the pace of introduction of new support measures decreased during the review period.


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