Trade and Commerce

A ground up view of shipping containers as an airplane passes by in the sky.

As part of their Americas strategies for COVID-19 response and aviation recovery, ICAO has contributed to the development of the new multilateral agreement to liberalize air cargo services in the region. The agreement comes into effect immediately among its ten signatories and establishes expanded traffic rights permitting regional airlines to provide all-cargo services between two other States without restrictions on routes and capacity. The 10 states involved are Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. 

The Trade Facilitation West Africa programme managed by the World Bank focuses on reducing trade barriers for small-scale cross-border traders in West Africa.

Bees in a honey comb.

The government sees honey as a product that could help diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy and is working with UNCTAD and the European Union to improve production and boost exports. Angola currently produces 90 tons of honey each year, but an UNCTAD analysis showed that Angola’s 100,000 or so beekeepers – mostly small entrepreneurs – could easily more than double production to 200 tons. It’s possible to produce honey in every region.

Man wearing a mask in front on a ship boarding ramp.

ILO has called for urgent and coordinated action to release the 150,000 to 200,000 seafarers trapped on board ships around the world because of measures to contain the COVID-19 virus.

Jujube plantation

A small business making natural products from jujube and tamarind has kept its doors open and workers safe thanks to the BioTrade principles and criteria for the sustainable commerce of plant and animal-based goods and services adopted before the pandemic. Besides being turned into healthy juices and syrups, the Jujube tree’s red fruit, commonly known as a red or Chinese date, is a key ingredient in traditional medicines. A slight drop in turnover hasn’t put the company’s future in jeopardy, which is important for women’s economic empowerment in the township, as 90% of factory employees are female.

Man harvesting seaweed from a small boat.

Impact of COVID-19 epidemic hits Indonesia’s small seaweed processors

Man reaching out for coffee beans in a tree.

UNCTAD works with farmers and other local players in Angola’s coffee sector to assess how producers and exporters can better position themselves within the global value chain. The country aims to reclaim its former glory as one of Africa’s top coffee exporters to diversify an economy that has become highly dependent on oil exports. Coffee grown in Angola’s highlands once provided half of its foreign exchange earnings until the nation fell into a decades-long civil war.

Woman in a crowd clapping.

UNCTAD features resilience during COVID-19. As doors close, others open as heightened concerns over hygiene restricted cash transactions and pushed more business operations online.

Two pilots inside the cockpit while flying.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) brings attention to new measures aimed at ensuring safe operations during COVID-19, and to a contingency coordination website.

tuna fish

Barbados fishing industry representatives and United Nations agencies have drafted a strategy to increase the value of the island’s tuna exports. If fully implemented, it could dramatically boost revenue from tuna exports, from US$303,000 in 2015 to $7.5 million in 2027. The project – a joint endeavour between UNCTAD, the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – addresses the different aspects of the national fishing industry where improvements are needed to transition from unprocessed to processed tuna exports.

market street in China

The slowdown of manufacturing in China due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is disrupting world trade and could result in a $US50 billion decrease in exports across global value chains, according to estimates published by UNCTAD on 4 March. Because China has become the central manufacturing hub of many global business operations, a slowdown in Chinese production has repercussions for any given country, depending on how reliant its industries are on Chinese suppliers. According to UNCTAD estimates, the most affected sectors include precision instruments, machinery, automotive and communication equipment. Among the most affected economies are the European Union ($15.6 billion), the United States ($5.8 billion) and Japan ($5.2 billion).

WTO Public Forum 2019

The 2019 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report highlights that services have become the most dynamic component of international trade and that its role will continue to expand in the coming decades. It stresses the need to enhance cooperation in the international community to support this expansion.