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Trade Policy Under the Spotlight

October 29, 2020

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

New thinking on trade policy and its interface with industrial policies and legitimate national industrial objectives is needed.

The trade, industry and competition minister, Ebrahim Patel, emphasized this in a statement on food security and human welfare.

The trade, industry and competition department statement follows the recent Informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Ministers Meeting.

According to the department, the “Trade Ministers Meeting discussed ways to narrow differences and generate consensus to drive the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations towards conclusion and the contribution of the WTO to global economic recovery post-COVID-19”.

The minister added that “in a post-COVID dispensation, strong and resilient national systems would have to enhance national production capacities; ensure greater diversification and value addition, including technological upgrading. This applies even more in circumstances where developed countries are adopting measures to promote ‘strategic autonomy’ and re-shoring strategies. We strongly believe that further tariff liberalization is not a solution in the midst of a crisis.”

Reference was made to the proposed Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Waiver that aims to promote timely, affordable and equitable access to vaccines, medical technologies and treatments of COVID-19 and ensure that intellectual property rights are protected for the benefit of all.