“One area where we feel that we have been more successful than people might think is in maintaining our trade with the United States,” said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, about navigating the economic limitations of the COVID-19 era.
Commenting on the need to close the Canada-US border to limit the spread of the corona virus, he added: “We have been able to reduce traffic on the border by more than 90% and at the same time trade is still happening – goods and services still flow across the border.”
Freeland’s statement came during the Forum’s virtual virtual meeting COVID Action Platform on May 6th.
Launched last month, the Forum platform aims to bring together leaders from the government and the business community for collective action to protect people’s livelihoods, facilitate business continuity and mobilize support for a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, more than 1,500 people from more than 1,000 businesses and organizations have joined the platform. To find the latest updates on the Platform, see us highlight blog recently launched.
The new type of Coronavirus, COVID 19, spread throughout the world, causing death and major disruption to the global economy.
Responding to this crisis requires global cooperation between governments, international organizations and Business community, which is at the center of the mission of the World Economic Forum as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
Forum has created COVID Action Platform, a global platform to unite the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response. This platform was created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, whose aim is to integrate and inform joint actions.
As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to tackle the epidemic. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate vaccine development. CEPI currently supports a race to develop a vaccine against this corona virus strand.
In addition to Freeland, participants in this week’s webinar include: Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Spanish Cooperation; Rich Lesser, Global Chief Executive, BCG; Nanavaty Reema, Executive Director, Women Entrepreneurs Association (SEWA), India; Paul Stoffels, Deputy Chair of the Executive Committee; Chief of Scientific Staff, Johnson & Johnson; Magdalena Andersson, Minister of Finance of Sweden; and Seth F. Berkley, Executive Director, Gavi, Vaccine Alliance.
Following are some key quotes from this session:
“The Swedish economy is also very hard hit by this crisis … we expect at least a 7% decline in GDP this year and unemployment that will be more than 10%, or nearly 15%, in the coming years,” Andersson said, noting Sweden’s dependence on exports to countries that are generally locked.
Regarding Spain’s response to the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic, Laya noted: “For us, the first important response is to do it differently from what we saw in 2008 – to protect and preserve productive capacity in the country, help businesses.” Protect jobs so that these businesses and entrepreneurs can return to business as soon as we manage the sanitation front. “
“The biggest problem … is the risk of the letter W [shaped economic recovery]. “The risk is that we are lowering the economy, we are bringing it back but we are not doing it the right way – and we are forced to bring it down again and lift it a second time,” Lesser argued. Because the economic and emotional costs to do that are very large, “he added.
Freeland commented on Canada’s focus on young people as part of its economic stimulus strategy: “We have a 9 billion dollar student support package because we are fully aware that there is a strong economic literature that shows that if you are a young person who passes a weak economy … which can have a lifelong impact on your income and indeed on how your entire life produces.we don’t want that to happen to this generation [as] they will become our economic leaders again. “
About rethinking trade and supply chains:
“This experience has revealed the fragility of supply chains in several places … whether that’s where containers are all over the world, the fact that one small supplier can affect most other supply chains – I think in this restart period there will be a big focus on resilience. , “Lesser said.
“What we need to do is rethink the structure of international trade. Therefore, we need to invest in a serious rethinking of the World Trade Organization, “Laya said.” “There is a good opportunity to do so because members now have one more reason to do this because trade will be an important part of an exit strategy for every country,” he argued.
Efforts to develop vaccines:
“More than 100 vaccine initiatives are ongoing in various technologies and that increases the likelihood of success,” Stoffels said.
But while he called the collaboration between stakeholders working towards vaccines “unprecedented,” Stoffels also reminded: “The fastest we can expect is that vaccines will be available … in the first half of next year, and that will be done in the emergency use. If you go for full vaccine approval … it will take two, three years before many vaccines will reach any useful stage. “
Regarding the importance of political will to distribute future vaccines to every corner of the planet, Berkley said: “Having a global agreement on the need for equitable access will be an important component that we must make to succeed. We can solve it technically, but we need political support if we want to succeed. “
About the effects of the virus on developing countries:
“Even the last piece of grain has been ripped from my mouth. There is no work, no transportation, and above all the climate shock that destroys our plants. I don’t know how I feed my family. I feel better ending my life or if death comes sooner than later. Just because we are poor, don’t we have the right to have dignity? ”
Those were the words Nanavaty shared from one of the members of his organization. “In short, I illustrate what is the reality of informal sector workers in the Global South. […] this is the situation of millions and millions of workers who have been forced to migrate to find work that is now stranded “due to a pandemic,” Nanavaty explained.
“Social alignment, locking – these are very foreign concepts for workers in the informal economy,” he added.
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