The COVID‐19 virus has caused a crisis for the world's economy and markets. The World Health Organization has declared the virus to be a global pandemic, meaning that it will have a sustained impact worldwide. In response to the shutdown of economies, governments across the world have implemented fiscal and monetary stimulus packages to counteract the disruption caused by the coronavirus. However, with many countries’ economies already slowing before the pandemic, the measures to combat the virus risk sending many countries into full scale recession for the first time since 2009, according to the European Commission. COVID‐19 has demonstrated the vulnerability of global supply chains and the need for more resilient infrastructures. Yet Europe cannot do this alone. The EU can only achieve this by strengthening ties and increasing trade cooperation with Asia and South America, in alignment with the values of sustainability. Prior to the COVID‐19 crisis, however, the EU has had major public disagreements around trade with both regions, essentially on environmental issues. By prioritising cooperation, the EU can work with developing countries in Asia and South America to take tangible steps towards environmentally sustainable production while boosting economic trade.