UNECA issues trade negotiations guidance for increased trade resilience

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United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

The United Nations (UN) has released a first version of a Handbook on Provisions and Options for Trade in Times of Crisis and Pandemic.

The work on the Handbook had come after realizing that the hundreds of regional trade agreements in place provided no guidance to countries on how to keep trade going during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Tuesday.

Along with the Handbook, the UN has also made available a free online self-paced course based on the Handbook, said the statement, indicating that professors and teachers of international trade law and development are welcome to integrate the short course in their own programmes.

The Handbook was also initiated by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), West Asia (ESCWA) and Europe (UNECE), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

They will also organize facilitated global and regional courses based on the Handbook starting later this year, announced the statement.

Many countries, especially during the first half of 2020, took ad-hoc unilateral measures that seriously disrupted international supply chains, including supplies in essential goods, such as medical equipment as well as food, noted the statement.

The Handbook is based on inputs collected from a wide range of experts, including from civil society, academia and the private sector, under the Global Initiative on Model Provisions for Trade in Times of Crisis and Pandemic in Regional and other Trade Agreements (IMP).

It is a living document, which will be updated based on feedback from users and as new lessons emerge, said the statement. Enditem

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