Ten Decision-making Suggestions Of UNCTAD To Support International Trade Logistics

During the COVID-19 pandemic, international trade logistics is facing huge challenges. How to ensure the smooth flow of international trade logistics and speed up the clearance of key materials? Recently, the United Nations Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD) gave ten decision-making recommendations.

1. To ensure smooth shipping. 80% of international trade is supported by shipping. To ensure smooth shipping during the epidemic, flag and port governments should continue to provide necessary services such as ship replenishment, issuance of supervision certificates, and quarantine and quarantine. Special attention should be paid to seafarers’ medical treatment and shifts.

2. Ensure that the port is open. The port is an important part of international trade logistics and the connection point of multimodal transport. The port can adopt a staggered uninterrupted working mode to disperse the work load, reduce the physical contact of the staff, and ensure sufficient working time.

3. Speed up the clearance of key materials. Through authorized economic operators (AEO), cargo tracking and positioning system, online advance declaration and other measures, we can guarantee the rapid customs clearance of key materials such as medical equipment and basic daily necessities. At present, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has provided 6 categories of anti-epidemic medical equipment with a total of 41 HS codes to help anti-epidemic materials pass customs quickly.

4. Guarantee cross-border transportation. The global supply chain of critical medical supplies and strategic materials should be kept smooth, and close cooperation between governments should be maintained. It is possible to consider lifting the restrictions on the suspension of transportation on weekends and increase the frequency of transportation and storage facilities in key areas.

5. Safeguard the rights of landlocked countries to access the sea. Recent data from UNCTAD show that cross-border cargo transportation in landlocked countries is hampered by the epidemic control and control of transit countries. Landlocked countries and transit countries can protect the transportation routes from seaports to landlocked countries by opening dedicated lanes and issuing health certificates recognized by both sides, and safeguard the rights of landlocked countries to access the sea; UNCTAD particularly emphasizes that regional economic communities can play an important role in this regard .

6. Ensure information transparency. Online trade information should be updated in a timely manner, and transparency should be ensured to ensure that all stakeholders can obtain it remotely. In addition, the government can support domestic industry associations to share information and provide assistance in a global network.

Seven, strengthen the online process. Although cargo handling still needs to be done offline, customs clearance procedures, information exchange and other operations should be moved online as much as possible to minimize the risk of virus transmission.

8. Deal with legal issues. The force majeure of the epidemic has led to numerous legal issues such as overdue debt repayment and failure to fulfill contracts. Traders are facing huge loss of profits and even bankruptcy. UNCTAD calls on relevant parties to maintain good communication, appropriately waive some legal rights, suspend debt settlement, and deal with legal issues such as adverse performance as appropriate.

9. Protect transportation and logistics service providers. In order to ensure the stability and smooth flow of the global supply chain, the government can provide appropriate support to transportation and logistics service providers that desperately need financial assistance to help the latter maintain operations.

10. Attach importance to technical assistance. Before the outbreak of the epidemic, many developing countries were already facing problems such as transportation infrastructure investment, trade facilitation reforms, and digital divide. The epidemic has exacerbated the difficulties faced by developing countries. UNCTAD therefore calls on the international community to provide developing countries with funding for talents and skills.