How can trade help to exit from the COVID-19 crisis?
27 July 2020
In this post, Orgalim adviser and member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Trade Agreements Silvia Selandari discusses trade and how it can support Europe's recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
As a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Trade Agreements, it has been my pleasure to discuss trade-related topics at the highest political level for the last years.
I was born in Venice, Italy, a city that prospered thanks to trade with the Mediterranean countries, including the Ottoman empire, and had some exchanges with countries as far as China thanks to Marco Polo.
Trade made Venice thrive and prosper, making it a worldwide-known gem. Hence, for me, it has always been natural to think that trade brings benefits to those who actively engage in it.
In the current troubled times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we see that some countries consider closing their borders with their neighbours within the EU and trading less with external partners. There are also some calls to re-shore production in the European Union. I fully understand some of the concerns and drivers for this discussion.
However, the COVID-19 crisis is also an opportunity to take a step back and to think about the benefits of trade. Trade, both in the internal market and with partner countries, has created growth and opportunities for both European companies and European citizens in the past decades. Before deciding to live in isolation we need to further discuss the pros and cons. It is good to also think about where we should improve our approach, especially regarding sectors that are key for human health and well-being.
Going forward, instead of creating trade walls between countries, we should focus on creating new partnerships by trading even more with our friends from all over the world. This will help our European companies keep their competitive edge in the current crisis, create jobs and growth in the European Union.
Moreover, it will be my pleasure to be part of the next Commission expert group on trade to discuss key topics such as re-shoring, strategic autonomy and other recovery-related fun topics.
You can read here the Orgalim trade priorities.