Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with other countries has been the cornerstone of its consistent economic growth during the last few decades. These trade policies allow Australia to continue to pursue all the avenues of trading with foreign sectors.
It is in times of great upheaval that having the right trade policies in place may save lives. This also refers to the trade of essential goods and services when a country is in dire need.
The Ottawa Group convened during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to investigate the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) role concerning its challenges during the pandemic. The Ottawa Group, which is made up of 13 countries, including Australia and the European Union, decided to focus trade efforts to promote a global economic recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic. Some of these efforts may include:
Transparency between countries
Transparency between countries is crucial during a global crisis, as ineffective communication may lead to the loss of thousands, if not millions, of lives. The wrong information can quickly spread like wildfire on the Internet.
Fake news or harmful advice may even lead to extreme events and tragedies developing. It is therefore essential to consult credible news networks and sources for information during a global crisis.
The supply of essential goods and services
During a global crisis, it is necessary for discoveries such as approved vaccines and credible medical information to be distributed as widely as possible. People have the fundamental human right to be made aware of essential goods and services and how they may have a bearing on their quality of life.
Therefore, the trade of essential goods and services should continue during a global crisis to sustain communities in need. In a time of worldwide concern, governments also convene to make sure that medical supplies are not made disproportionately expensive – this allows more impoverished communities to get the help they need.
For the overall benefit of the citizens
Even though Free Trade Agreements ultimately allow economic growth and create investment opportunities, some may argue that the greatest benefit should remain with a country’s citizens.
Others say that Free Trade Agreements should not give power and wealth to the few but provide equal opportunities for all industries who wish to do business abroad.