IMF, WTO urge caution on export restrictions

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund logo is seen during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization warned on Friday that export restrictions on medical supplies and food “can be dangerously counterproductive” as countries grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement urging caution on such restrictions, the two organizations also said they were concerned by the decline of trade financing needed to ensure that food and medical supply imports get to the countries that need them most.

The IMF and WTO said export restrictions “disrupt supply chains, depress production, and misdirect scarce, critical products and workers away from where they are most needed. Other governments counter with their own restrictions.”

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama