On 1 April, ASR joined the Canadian Services Coalition, the Singapore Business Federation, the Hong Kong Coalition of Services Industries, the Japan Services Network, the Taiwan Coalition of Service Industries, the European Services Forum, the CityUK and the US Coalition of Services Industries in a major statement on Ensuring Resilience of Global Supply of Essential Services in Combating COVID-19.
The Global Services Coalition Statement expresses solidarity with the work of governments and international institutions to combat the spread of COVID-19 and calls on governments to take a range of critical measures to maintain resilience in the supply of essential services during this time of crisis. Financial services, ICT services, retail and distribution, and transportation and logistics services are all examples, though not exhaustive, of critical enablers of trade in goods and agri-food products, as well as services that enhance social welfare. As governments curtail commercial activity and social interaction to fight the global pandemic, it is critical for them to allow for continuation of these and other essential services, while of course ensuring the health and safety of the personnel involved.
The Statement emphasises that the necessary measures to respond to COVID-19 should not become cover for countries to introduce unjustifiable protectionist measures further disrupting the global economy. The GSC wholly supports the WTO Director-General in his appeal of 24 March for governments to be transparent about the measures they are taking nationally to respond to COVID-19, including in services sectors. We also support the G20 Summit statement of 26 March.
The WTO has featured the GSC Statement on their website under the heading “Global business/civil society response to COVID-19”. To see the details and download the Global Services Coalition statement click here.
ASR, along with 28 other tech business associations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, EU, France, India, Japan, U.K. and the U.S Has also joined an International Technology Industry Council Call to Policymakers Worldwide to Adopt Clear and Consistent Guidance on Essential Workers, for the purpose of aiding state, local, and municipal governments working to ensure public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Guidance should specifically include a range of ICT Workers. Workers across the ICT sector are critical to the delivery of digital services and related infrastructure in support of the public health response. Specifically, these workers are aiding health care systems and providers; allowing employees and businesses to operate remotely; securing and servicing networks, data centres and cloud services; enabling e-commerce and the delivery of food, medicine, and other necessities; keeping students engaged and learning; manufacturing technology products and components from microprocessors to supercomputers; and otherwise enabling governments to respond to this global health crisis.