WEBINAR: Prospects for Commonwealth Trade in a Post-COVID Landscape

The Institute for International Trade invites you to join us for an interactive webinar with the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on the prospects, opportunities and challenges for Commonwealth trade in the global trading landscape.

Commonwealth Flags

The webinar will highlight the main findings from two forthcoming studies by the Commonwealth Secretariat on (1) the Commonwealth’s trade in a post-COVID landscape; and (2) the implications of the slowing Indian economy for Commonwealth trade.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted international trade, investment, movement and supply chains in unprecedented ways, with significant implications for the Commonwealth’s 54 member countries. Meanwhile, political tensions are escalating trade disputes between the USA and China (and now the USA and the EU). The pandemic is also perpetuating an ongoing economic slowdown in China and India, while the proliferation of trade-restrictive measures is further depressing the outlook for world trade growth. This global trade turmoil presents challenges for Commonwealth countries.

International trade will have a large role to play in the post-crisis recovery and resilience building phase. However, keeping trade policy innovations during the COVID-19 outbreak in view it seems that trade flows will be highly challenged in the post-COVID world. As the virus comes under control, three major areas of the debate around international trade are emerging: (i) localisation of global value chains and trade-offs between efficiency and resilience; (ii) re-emergence of protectionism in the garb of health emergencies and deteriorating relations between the USA and China, which recently fought a trade war; and (iii) shifts in the economic drivers of trade flows, such as the fourth industrial revolution, 3D printing and other technologies.

This webinar will reflect on key drivers of change in the global trading system, and how they impact on the Commonwealth’s trade.



Dr Brendan Vickers (Moderator) is Head of the International Trade Policy Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat, having previously been an Economic Adviser in the Section. Prior to joining the Commonwealth, he worked in the South African civil service as Head of Research and Policy at the Department of Trade and Industry and Deputy Director for International Relations and Trade in the Office of President Thabo Mbeki. Dr Vickers has published widely on trade and development issues and was the lead author of the 2018 Commonwealth Trade Review, “Strengthening the Commonwealth Advantage. Trade, Technology, Governance”. He holds a PhD from the University of London.

Dr Dessie Tarko Ambaw (Presenter) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for International Trade (IIT). Prior to this position, he was a data analyst consultant at the World Bank (International Finance Corporation) and a teaching associate at the School of Economics, the University of Adelaide. In addition, Dr Dessie has previously worked an as economist at Statistics Denmark and a lecturer at Bahir Dar University. His research interest focuses on exploring the key drivers and barriers of foreign direct investment, trade, firm productivity, technology diffusion, trade policy, and the economic causes of civil conflict. His research papers are published in peer reviewed economic journals such as Applied Economic Letters and Oxford Economic Papers.

Dr Veena Jha (Presenter) is CEO, IKDHVAJ Advisers LLP in India. She is a well-trained and experienced Economist who has worked with UN organs for 25 years on trade and development issues and has written or edited 13 books and over a hundred articles. Dr Jha is one of the authors of a forthcoming Commonwealth study on the impact of the COVID pandemic on India’s trade and investment with Commonwealth countries. She has also worked on two earlier projects with the EXIM Bank on NTMs and domestic policy constraints on exports from selected sectors. She holds a PhD from University College, London.

Dr Salamat Ali (Discussant) is Trade Economist in the International Trade Policy Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London. He holds more than 15 years of experience in conducting data-driven and policy-oriented research work, regulating international trade, and implementing trade facilitation reforms in developing countries. He is currently working on a series of publications on the effects of COVID-19 on medical supplies, food trade and commodities in Commonwealth member countries. Dr Ali graduated from Michigan State University, USA, and later completed MPA in Trade Policy Management from the London School of Economics and a PhD in International Trade at the University of Nottingham, UK.

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