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G-20 countries double new trade restrictions

The imposition of new trade restrictions by G-20 economies doubled during October 2017 to May 2018, a new report shows, posing a serious threat to growth and recovery in all countries.

According to the latest World Trade Organization (WTO) monitoring report, 39 new trade-restrictive measures were applied by G20 economies from mid-October to May, including tariff increases, stricter customs procedures, imposition of taxes and export duties. This equates to an average of almost six restrictive measures per month, which is significantly higher than the three measures recorded during the previous review period.

G20 economies also implemented 47 measures aimed at facilitating trade during the review period, including eliminated or reduced tariffs, simplified import and export customs procedures and reduction of import taxes.

The estimated trade coverage of the trade-facilitating measures – US$82.7bn – exceeded the estimated trade coverage of import-restrictive measures – $74.1bn – but is around half the trade coverage reported for these measures during the same period in 2016-17.

The trade coverage of import-restrictive measures is more than one-and-a-half times larger than that during the same period in 2016-17.

WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo said the new measures "should be of real concern to the international community".

"This continued escalation poses a serious threat to growth and recovery in all countries, and we are beginning to see this reflected in some forward-looking indicators," he added. "I urge G20 leaders to show restraint in applying new measures and to urgently de-escalate the situation. I will continue working with the G20 governments and all WTO members to this end."

The G20 economies are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Republic of Korea, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the US, as well as the European Union (EU).


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