Background

G-20 economies have continued to show restraint in imposing trade restrictions despite increasing economic uncertainty aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to a recent report from the World Trade Organization.

For more information on how to respond to trade-restrictive measures, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

According to the report, during the period mid-October 2021 through mid-May 2022 G-20 economies implemented 97 new trade-facilitating measures with a trade value of $581.5 billion and 53 new trade-restrictive measures with a trade value of $18.2 billion. However, the stockpile of G-20 import restrictions in force has grown steadily since 2009, both in value terms and as a percentage of world imports, and as of mid-May 2002 10.9 percent of G-20 imports were affected by such restrictions.

COVID-related trade measures imposed since January 2020 have included 113 of a trade-facilitating nature and 43 of a trade-restrictive nature, 93 percent of which have been export restrictions. Twelve new COVID measures were reported by G-20 economies during the review period, primarily amendments of measures implemented in the early stages of the pandemic or the termination of others, and the number of new support measures significantly decreased. About 53 percent of COVID-related export restrictions have been phased out, and the estimated trade coverage of related facilitating and restrictive measures still in place is $111.8 billion and $95.7 billion, respectively.

New in this report are figures on measures imposed in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The WTO identified 14 export restrictive measures implemented by five G-20 economies, including quotas and temporary bans affecting agricultural commodities, fuel products, and fertilizers, with an estimated trade coverage of $52.2 billion. On the other hand, ten G-20 members adopted eight import-facilitating measures, including tariff reductions or eliminations and the removal of import quotas on agricultural commodities and fuel products, with an estimated trade coverage of $28.7 billion. The WTO also reported 43 trade and trade-related sanctions imposed by nine G-20 economies against Russia in the area of trade in goods along with 36 concerning services.

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