Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 10:38 UK

Swine flu nations make trade plea

Canadian pig farmer
There is no evidence of swine flu being transmitted through food.

Three countries worst hit by the global swine flu outbreak have urged economic partners not to allow it to affect international trade.

Agricultural ministers from Canada, Mexico and the US said the outbreak should not be used as a reason for unnecessary trade restrictions.

North America's pork industry is seen as especially vulnerable.

But the World Health Organization has insisted there is no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food.

Almost 20 nations, including China and Russia, have imposed bans on the importation of pigs and pork products from Canada, the US and Mexico.

Asia impact

Separately, analysts at Moody's said that the outbreak could shatter fragile goings of a global economic recovery.

"The outbreak in Mexico and its rapid spread to other countries could interrupt trade and investment, exacerbating the worldwide recession for an uncertain period."

Meanwhile, at the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank, the organisation's acting chief economist, Jong-Wha Lee said Asian trade and tourism could be hit by the outbreak.

But he said that its lessons learned form the 2003 Sars epidemic would help it counter its effects.

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said that, in Asia, economies with "sizeable tourism, retail and transportation sectors" such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand would be most vulnerable to the economic fall-out of swine flu.

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