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Trade restrictions within G20 countries now cover over 6% of all imports

June 21, 2016

According to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) fifteenth trade monitoring report on G20 trade measures published today, the application of new trade-restrictive measures by G20 economies increased compared to the previous reporting period, reaching the highest monthly average registered since the WTO began its monitoring exercise in 2009.

In the period under review (mid-October 2015 to mid-May 2016), G20 economies applied 145 new trade-restrictive measures, or an average of almost 21 new measures a month.

In the same period, G20 economies implemented 100 measures aimed at facilitating trade, averaging just over 14 per month.

Since 2009, a total of 1,583 trade restrictive measures were imposed by G20 countries, and only a quarter of these measures have been removed. These restrictions cover over 6% of all G20 imports and 5% of global imports.

The WTO notes that the main factor behind the rise in trade-restrictive measures was an increase in the number of trade remedy investigations by G20 economies. Anti-dumping actions account for the majority of restrictive measures imposed, with most of the investigations concentrated in sectors such as metals (particularly steel) and chemicals.

G20 members also imposed more distortive measures in the form of government support for sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture and export-specific activities.

Commenting on the report, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: "We have long been concerned about the growing stockpile of trade-restrictive measures, and our report suggests that this worrying trend is continuing. A rise in trade restrictions is the last thing the global economy needs today, with GDP growth sluggish and 2016 expected to be the fifth year in a row that trade has expanded by less than 3%."

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