G-20 economies introduced more trade-restrictive than trade-facilitating measures on goods and services in recent months, according to a recent report from the World Trade Organization.

The report finds that during the period mid-May through mid-October 2023 G-20 economies implemented 49 new trade-restrictive measures with a trade value of $246 billion (up from $88.0 billion during the previous period) compared to 44 new trade-facilitating measures with a trade value of $318.8 billion (down from $691.9 billion).

The monthly average of new trade restrictions (9.8) outpaced that of trade-facilitating measures (8.8) for the first time since 2015. In addition, there is still “”little meaningful rollback” of the import restrictions G-20 countries have introduced since 2009, which as of the end of 2023 were affecting 11.8 percent of G-20 imports (up from 11.1 percent).

According to the report, the pace of implementation of new export restrictions has increased since 2020, first in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently as a result of the war in Ukraine and the food security crisis. Although some of these have been rolled back, as of mid-October 2023, 75 export restrictions on food, feed, and fertilizers were still in place globally (up from 63) in addition to 20 COVID-related export restrictions (down from 21). Of these, 28 of the former and 11 of the latter were maintained by G-20 economies.

The report adds that the average number of trade remedy initiations by G-20 economies was 13.8 per month, up from 9.7 during the previous period but still far lower than their peak (28.6 per month) in 2020. The monthly average of trade remedy terminations was 2.0, the lowest since 2012.

Finally, the report notes a significant increase in the introduction of new general economic support measures by G-20 economies, including environmental impact reduction programs, renewable-energy production schemes, and support for energy efficiency and decarbonization and for clean- and renewable-energy projects. Other measures included support programs for the agricultural sector, tourism, aviation, and transport.

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