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Continuing Concern About G-20 Members’ Use of Trade Restrictive Measures

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

A semiannual report from three multinational organizations released June 17 expresses concern about the continuing use of trade restrictive measures by G-20 member countries despite their pledge to refrain from such measures through 2014 and to roll back any new restrictions that have arisen in the aftermath of the global economic downturn.

According to the report, 109 trade restrictions were recorded between mid-October 2012 and mid-May 2013 (up from 71 during the previous five-month period), covering about 0.5% of G-20 merchandise imports or the equivalent of 0.4% of world imports. The most frequent measures taken during this period were the initiation of trade remedy actions, in particular antidumping investigations, followed by tariff increases. These new measures add to those implemented over previous periods, most of which (81%, up from 79% during the previous period) are still in place, as well as the stock of trade restrictions and distortions that existed before the global crisis began. The cumulative impact of import restrictions implemented by G-20 economies on G-20 trade since October 2008 is estimated to be around $16 billion or 0.2% of G-20 trade.

On the other hand, the report notes, G-20 members have generally continued to honor their pledge not to introduce new restrictive policies on investment, and almost all new investment policy measures that they adopted during the reporting period tended to eliminate investment restrictions and facilitate inward or outward investment.

In addition, some G-20 economies implemented measures that facilitate trade during the review period, although these were outnumbered by trade restrictive measures. Around 40% of the total number of trade measures recorded were trade-facilitating measures (covering about 0.7% of G-20 merchandise imports), compared with 55% during the previous period.

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