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January 21, 2021

Opinion: How the pandemic exposes power imbalances in global supply chains

Photo: An apparel worker at a garment factory that reopened amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo by: Fahad Abdullah Kaizer / UN Women / CC BY-NC-ND

This article was originally published by Devex on 17 November 2020.

From fresh produce to toilet paper to bicycles, the pandemic has disrupted the complex supply networks that crisscross the globe. And with that disruption, the virus has revealed the delicacy of many of these links, and how tenuous the world’s worst-off are within these global arrangements.Trade isn’t all about tariffs or taxes, as COVID-19 has shown.

Garment factories in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Cambodia have all experienced cancellations of orders. In total, U.S. and European fashion companies have refused to pay overseas suppliers over $16 billion in global goods, affecting millions of workers.

For lower-income countries that rely heavily on tourism, a similar story unfolded. Pandemic lockdowns started, cancellations ensued, and the many that work in parks, safaris, and heritage sites — often in more remote areas with few employment prospects — lost jobs and essential income.

For full article, please visit Devex page here.

About the author

 Deanna Ramsay is the managing editor of Enhanced Integrated Framework's Trade for Development News at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Violeta Gonzalez is head of partnerships, communications, and resource mobilization at the Enhanced Integrated Framework, a sustainable trade multilateral partnership at the World Trade Organization. In this capacity, she leads a global team in helping EIF build strategic partnerships, communicate results, and secure financing for operations in 51 developing economies.


Any views and opinions expressed on Trade for Development News are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect those of EIF.