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Corona pandemic and the future of global trade

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Much of the current crisis with the Corona pandemic could have been avoided had China been more transparent about the virus from the beginning. The tremendous loss (in economic, societal and political terms) that this pandemic caused could have been avoided had we been warned early enough by the Chinese Government. The coronavirus outbreak has drastically impacted the confidence in global trade and will usher in a new normal.

This pandemic had a tremendous impact on the world economy and the costs of fighting this pandemic may far exceed the costs that have been incurred in recent events in human history that radically changed the world order. For instance, world war-II (WW-II) resulted in the establishment of the United Nations. The parallel between WW-II and the current pandemic can be easily seen when we compare the costs of these two events. America’s final bill for fighting WW-II in today’s dollars, cost $4.1 trillion, according to data from the Congressional Research Service. The costs that have been authorized to date by US congress to beat the effects of the Pandemic are in excess of $2 trillion and are expected to go far beyond the $4.1 trillion.  Now the question that begs an answer is if a similar change in the world order, that establishes institutions to prevent a similar catastrophe in the future, will follow this pandemic. This article argues for and lays down the framework for such a change in world order using the most potent of the weapons available to mankind – global trade.

As we battle the current situation, it is imperative that we start thinking of measures to prevent a repeat of such situations in the future. Towards this objective, all free-thinking governments and people should take steps towards implementing a worldwide early warning system for any biological/chemical/nuclear threats to humans (or any other living beings for that matter). It should be made mandatory for all countries who are desirous of participating in global trade to agree to participate in this new early warning system regime/treaty. Any corporation/government that has continued investments/dealings with governments that are not signatories to this treaty should be subject to economic and other sanctions.  Some of the key features of this new order are outlined below:

  • It should be mandatory for any signatory to report within 24 hours to the global community any new virus/ bacteria / other biological/chemical/nuclear threat;
  • Unrestricted access should be provided to all member nations to the information system
  • Data should be provided to the World Health Organization (WHO) and/or Health officials of any of the G20 grouping to participate in the investigation of the matter within 24 hours;
  • Full and complete details (on a real-time basis) of the medical data including any drugs that are developed and/or other measures taken by the county of origin or any other country that is impacted.
  • The country where the threat originated and any other country where the threat moved to should be responsible to take all the measures required to contain the spread of the virus to other countries including a complete lockdown where required;
  • There should be mandated inspections on the lines of Financial action task force (FATF) to monitor compliance and improve processes; and
  • Any violations of the provisions should be punishable with fines/cost reimbursements and/or suspension from global trade.

Such lasting changes in world order are the need of the hour and are imperative to restore confidence in global trade and for a bright future of humanity.

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