From the Document: "The COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic has led some 75 countries to restrict their exports of hundreds of essential products, ranging from antibiotics and face masks to medical ventilators. Since banning exports decreases global supply and leads to price surges on world markets, the cost of these measures may ultimately be counted in human lives. To make matters worse, the international trade regime is ill-designed to deal with export restrictions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, trade experts have called for greater global cooperation (Beattie, 2020), yet such level-headed appeals ignore the long and unsuccessful history of attempts to discipline export restraints. Export restraints currently fall into something of a legal grey zone: they are nominally considered violations, but there are sufficient exceptions written into multilateral rules to render them permissible in any circumstances under which they may be needed, including the current pandemic. This is not happenstance. For the past 70 years of multilateral trade negotiations, there has been a widespread recognition that governments are unlikely to commit to meaningful discipline on export restraints, given the necessity to secure domestic supplies by any means necessary in times of crisis."
2020 Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/]
Cambridge University Press: https://www.cambridge.org/
Canadian Journal of Political Science (2020), 1-8