How Trade Policy Can Help Avoid A Food Crisis under COVID-19

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Jun 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic threatens global food supply chains in many ways. As workers are prevented to access fields and processing facilities, containment measures drive supply shocks, particularly in labor-intensive sectors. Food distribution channels face disruptions due to the interruption of logistics and refrigeration chains, in addition to higher costs derived from the inefficient use of carriers, which overwhelmingly affect perishables and high-value commodities. Beggar-thy-neighbor trade policies exacerbate these risks, and policymakers around the globe should be reminded of the unintended consequences of the policy mistakes of the past. With these concerns in mind, this policy brief provides a review of the trade measures affecting trade in agriculture commodities implemented since the outbreak of the pandemic. Against this background, it assesses the exposure of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean to disruptions in food supply chains.