Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organization, on Monday called for tackling choke points in global supply chains by bringing more countries into international production networks, which she called “reglobalization”.
Speaking at the start of a virtual meeting which brought together government officials, heads of major ports, shipping companies, logistics firms and others, she said small businesses had been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and that poor and landlocked countries were at risk. to be squeezed out of global value chains. But the answer was not a global withdrawal from trade, she said.
“Deeper and more diverse international markets remain our best bet for supply resilience,” said Dr Okonjo-Iweala.
Global supply chains remain congested more than two years into the pandemic, with businesses and consumers around the world facing delays and higher prices to ship goods. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia have added to these disruptions.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala said the organization was monitoring the impact of the conflict on global food security, including sharp increases in the prices of grains, oilseeds, vegetable oils, fertilizers and energy.
But she pointed out that many of the problems with supply chains during the pandemic were the result of more goods crossing borders than ever before. These were “success-related issues,” she said.
Without effective government policies to support demand and help businesses, seafarers, truckers, port workers and others adjust, “the pandemic could easily have led to a protracted collapse in growth and trade,” he said. she declared.
The volume of global merchandise trade nearly quadrupled between 1990 and 2019, and current systems need to be adapted to deal with threats such as pandemics and climate change, she said.