Vice-Minister A. Zananavičius: EU needs a long-term strategy to avoid disruptions of critical supply chains
On 16 April, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Albinas Zanavičius participated in a video conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Trade), who had an exchange of views on the impact of COVID-19 on trade relations. A. Zanavičius stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic had revealed vulnerabilities in global trade and supply chains.
“At the moment, our priority is to secure the supply of necessary medical and personal protective equipment. This, first of all, requires solidarity among EU member states in eliminating export restrictions and addressing logistical impediments in the EU," said the Foreign Vice-Minister.
A. Zanavičius also underlined the importance of the World Trade Organisation’s more active role in ensuring that restrictions on the trade of essential goods had the least possible impact on international trade.
EU Ministers discussed the need to ensure a swift recovery of economies, in particular by securing the resilience and sustainability of supply chains. A. Zananavičius insisted on the need to launch a debate on supply chain diversification and the long-term strategy for the EU’s economic sovereignty to reduce the risk of future disruptions of critical goods supply. “We have to identify at the EU level those industrial sectors that are at the heart of the EU’s strategic autonomy”, said A. Zananavičius.
The pandemic has lead to the shortage of essential medicines worldwide and disrupted international supply chains. In addition, there are long transport queues due to border closures. Currently, 54 countries are implementing a number of measures, firstly, to restrict the export of medical and protective equipment. The WTO forecasts that global trade will fall this year by between 13% and 32%.