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The COVID-19 pandemic and international trade



  1. UK businesses engaged in international trade are currently experiencing uniquely challenging trading circumstances as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chains are coming under severe pressure while, simultaneously, patterns of demand are deviating from expected trading norms. Concerns are being raised about access to essential goods for both consumers and public authorities.
  2. The UK Government has announced a significant package of financial support for UK businesses which are, or stand to be, negatively affected by the pandemic. The Department for International Trade (DIT) has so far published guidance for UK businesses trading internationally and advice for the freight transport industry relating to the impact of the pandemic.
  3. Several of the UK’s international trading partners, including within the EU’s Single Market, have introduced export bans on certain goods deemed to be essential to their domestic response to the pandemic, such as medical supplies. Restrictions on the movement of people have also been introduced by many countries.

Submit written evidence

The Committee welcomes submissions on some, or all, of the following points by 5pm on Friday 24 April. Submissions made prior to this deadline would be gratefully received. Submissions should be made using the COVID-19 pandemic and international trade inquiry page.

Terms of Reference

  • What impact will the global COVID-19 pandemic have on UK businesses trading internationally, in the short-, medium- and long-term?
  • How effectively has the Government responded, both in the UK and in overseas posts, to the short-term negative impact of the pandemic on UK businesses trading internationally? What further steps could be taken to mitigate this impact?
  • What medium- and long-term negative impacts could arise from the pandemic for UK businesses trading internationally? What steps could the Government take to mitigate these impacts?
  • What steps can UK businesses take to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on international trade?
  • How best can the UK Government facilitate trade in essential goods during the pandemic?
  • How should the Department for International Trade work with the rest of central government, as well as devolved, local and regional government, to deliver a coordinated response to the pandemic?
  • How can the UK Government engage with countries at the World Trade Organization and bilateral trading partners – including those with which the UK has a significant trading relationship or one facilitating trade in priority goods – to promote international cooperation and a coordinated global response to the pandemic?
  • How might the pandemic impact global trade patterns and international supply chains in the long-term?

Upcoming events

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No upcoming events scheduled

Past events

Friday 5 June 2020
1:45pm Private
2:30pm Public
The COVID-19 pandemic and international trade - Oral evidence 5 June 2020
  • Soumaya Keynes (Trade and Globalisation Editor at The Economist Magazine)
  • Professor Simon J. Evenett (Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at University of St. Gallen)
  • Marianne Petsinger (Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme at Royal Institute of International Affairs)
  • Alan Wolff (Deputy Director-General at World Trade Organisation)
  • Peter Ungphakorn (former Senior Information Officer at World Trade Organisation)
Virtual meeting
Wednesday 13 May 2020
2:00pm Private
2:30pm Public
The COVID-19 pandemic and international trade - Oral evidence 13 May 2020
  • Miles Celic (Chief Executive Officer at TheCityUK)
  • John Drummond (Head of Trade in Services at Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development)
  • Vivienne Stern (Director at Universitites UK International)
  • Courtney Fingar (Foreign Direct Investment Editor at New Statesman Media Group)
  • Ms Laura Bannister (Senior Advisor at Trade Justice Movement)
  • Dr James X Zhan (Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at UN Conference on Trade and Development)
Virtual meeting
Wednesday 6 May 2020
2:00pm Private
2:30pm Public
The COVID-19 pandemic and international trade - Oral evidence 6 May 2020
  • Carlos López-Gómez (Head of Policy Links at Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University)
  • Stephen Phipson CBE (Chief Executive at Make UK)
  • Elizabeth De Jong (Director of Policy at Freight Transport Association)
  • Mike Hawes (Chief Executive at Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders)
  • Philip Law (Director General at British Plastics Federation)
  • Mr Paul Alger MBE (International Business Director at UK Fashion and Textile Association)
Virtual meeting
Thursday 30 April 2020
2:30pm Public
The COVID-19 pandemic and international trade - Oral evidence 30 April 2020
  • Professor Bob Doherty (Professor of Marketing and Chair in Agri-food at University of York)
  • Professor Fiona Smith (Professor of International Economic Law and N8 Chair in Agri-Food at University of Leeds)
  • Ian Wright (Chief Executive at Food and Drink Federation)
  • Andrew Opie (Director of Food and Sustainability at British Retail Consortium)
Virtual meeting