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Rise in new trade restrictions from WTO members: report

02
Aug '18
Courtesy: Unsplash
Courtesy: Unsplash
World Trade Organisation (WTO) members introduced more trade-restrictive measures from mid-October 2017 to mid-May 2018 compared to the previous review period of mid-October 2016 to mid-October 2017, according to a report on trade-related developments presented by its director general Roberto Azevêdo recently at a meeting of WTO’s trade policy review body.

While WTO members continued to implement more trade-facilitating than trade-restrictive measures, the value of trade covered by the restrictive measures rose and the value covered by facilitating measures fell, a WTO press release said citing the report.

The report draws attention to this shift, and to the fact that it is taking place at a time of heightened trade tensions and associated rhetoric, which should be of concern to the international community.

"We are heading in the wrong direction, and we seem to be speeding up. Growth, jobs and recovery are at stake. I call on members to recognize the gravity of this report and its findings. We need to see immediate steps which de-escalate the situation," Azevêdo said.

WTO members applied 75 new trade-restrictive measures, including tariff increases, quantitative restrictions, imposition of import taxes and stricter customs regulations, amounting to a monthly average of almost 11 new measures. This is higher compared to the average of nine measures recorded in the previous report.

The trade coverage of the import-facilitating measures ($107.3 billion) is larger than that of the import-restrictive measures ($84.5 billion).

While this is encouraging, the ratio of the trade coverage of import-facilitating over import-restrictive measures, which was two-to-one in favour of the former in the November 2017 report, has fallen significantly for the current period review. This is a source of considerable concern and an area where continued monitoring is required, Azevêdo added. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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