Trade and Development Challenges Arising from COVID-19: Responses, Recovery, and Resilience

Aid for Trade Stocktaking Event 2021
Trade and Development Challenges Arising from COVID-19: Responses, Recovery, and Resilience

Sponsored by the US Delegation to the WTO

March 24, 2021

Panelist Bios
Click here (pdf): WTO Aid for Trade COVID-19 stocktaking exercise, March 24, 2021

View the full WTO Aid for Trade Stocktaking Event program

Trade rules such as those outlined in the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and policies promoting free flows of data enable countries to build resilience into their supply chains and, ultimately, support the development of their domestic economies and trade regimes in response to COVID-19. To mark the theme of the current Aid for Trade work program (2020-2022) “Empowering connected, sustainable trade,” this event will look at how trade rules and trade policy makers can respond to challenges arising from COVID-19. Speakers will discuss responses and offer stories of recovery and a look into future resilience.

Panelists will present an informed dialogue on the use of new technologies in the agricultural sector to exchange phytosanitary certificates and other mandatory certificates in the context of border clearance processes. They will also identify best practices, and consider challenges and opportunities for future action to support developing countries in benefitting from the adoption of new technologies. Participants will gain an increased understanding of the benefits of transitioning from paper-based to automated import/export documents, including SPS systems via ePhyto.

In addition, panelists will discuss the important inter-relationship between ecommerce and trade facilitation and how both are important elements to MSMEs’ economic success. Participants will develop a better appreciation for the constraints that MSMEs face when participating in the global trading system and the significant benefits that arise from advancing their business through on-line-ecommerce platforms.

Opening Remarks
Dawn Shackelford
Assistant United States Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs

Paul Fekete
Senior International Trade Advisor, USAID

Session 1
“Facilitating safe trade along global supply chains: Digitizing SPS certificates and other import/export documentation”

Discussion Question: Digital technologies provide efficiency, security, and resilience for the exchange of SPS certificates and other trade documentation. During the global pandemic, the exchange of electronic documentation has allowed countries to minimize disruptions to trade flows. What are the lessons learned from transitioning from paper-based to automated import/export documents, including SPS systems via ePhyto? What are the emerging best practices in using new technologies? What opportunities, and challenges, can be considered for future action to support developing countries as they benefit from the adoption of new technologies and facilitate safe trade along global supply chains?

– Christian Dellis, Deputy Director, Phytosanitary Issues Management – Export Services, USDA-APHIS
– Rodrigo Robles, Coordinator eCert, Agriculture and Livestock Service of Chile (SAG)
– Walter Alessandrini, National Food Safety and Quality Service of Argentina (SENASA)
– Charif C. Carvajal, Marketing Manager for Europe and Asia, Chile Fruit Exporters Association (ESOEX)
– Gerald Masila, Executive Director, Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC)
– Alejandro Pernías, President & CEO, at Global Share S.A. (edoxOnline)

Video – Part I




 “Dialogue building on paperless trade; development and the enabling environment for e-commerce”
Discussion Question: Evidence shows that participation in global commerce tends to accelerate a country’s economic growth and development while improving innovation and productivity gains across the economy.  How can WTO members effectively employ e-commerce and digital technologies in the agriculture and handicrafts sectors to open new opportunities for developing country MSMEs to engage in trade, grow, and create new jobs?  What constraints do MSMEs face on their participation in the global trading system? What lessons have we learned during the global pandemic about the role e-commerce can play in creating resilient economies?

– Suzanne Uittenbogaard, Sustainable Value Chain Manager – Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate
– Jean-Marie Delon, West Africa Sustainability Program Manager – Cargill
– Judith Ueberschaer, Associate E-Commerce Expert, International Trade Centre, Geneva
– Eliza Babarczy, founder of Itza Wood, Guatemala
– Carmen Rengifo, founder of Rengifo, El Salvador
– Ishani Mukherji, Etsy Team, India
Closing Remarks – Paul Fekete

Video – Part II