Post Covid-19 Pandemic: Going Forward With Sustainable Trade
Business Today Malaysia|November 2020
Evelyn S. Devadason is a Professor at the Faculty of Economics & Administration, University of Malaya.
Evelyn S. Devadason

An important lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic is that trade needs to be balanced between economic gains and the environmental and social needs. Disruptions in global supply chains due to the pandemic have exposed economic vulnerabilities, and these vulnerabilities are further worsened by poor environmental resource management and lack of proper safeguards for workers on the domestic front. Economic gains should therefore not be the sole purpose of trade.

In turn, economic gains from trade do not reflect the readiness of countries for sustainable trade. A good example is Vietnam. Having captured the gains of supply chain diversification, Vietnam, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is poised to mark more growth post-pandemic than any other major Southeast Asian nation. Despite the positive economic outlook for Vietnam, the recent 2020 Sustainable Trade Index (STI) revealed that Vietnam has regressed on the environmental and social pillars relative to the other economies.

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