Ministry of Foreign Trade Monitors WTO Report on G-20 Trade Measures

Abu Dhabi: The G-20 has witnessed a slowdown in the imposition of new trade restrictive measures during the period from mid-May to mid-October 2012, according to the report of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy, on trade measures issued on the 31st of October 2012.

The report said “at a time of continuous economic difficulties, trade frictions seem to be increasing”, calling on G-20 governments to “redouble their efforts to keep their markets open, and to advance trade opening as a way to counter slowing global economic growth”.

Lamy added that around 55 per cent of the total number of new measures recorded over the past five months have been categorised as trade facilitating, in comparison with 45 percent at the time of the previous monitoring report, while the trade facilitating measures cover around 0.7 percent of G-20 merchandise imports.

The WTO also forecasted a growth in trade of 4.5 percent in 2013, which is still below the long-term annual average of 5.4 percent for the last 20 years.

The report ended with a renewed appeal from the directors of the WTO, OECD and UNCTAD to the governments of the G-20 to redouble their efforts to strengthen multilateral cooperation and to seek to avoid situations that would crease trade tensions between them, adding that the multilateral trading and investment system needs to continue to act as an insurance policy against protectionism.

The Ministry’s Trade Negotiations and WTO Department, in its summary and analysis of the report, pointed out that such reports have been released periodically since 2008 to monitor the trade measures that are adopted by the G-20 to deal with the ramifications of the global financial crisis.

The report pointed out that despite the slowdown in imposing trade restrictive measures in the G-20 economies over the past 5 months, new measures are adding to the stock of restrictions put in place since the outbreak of the global crisis, most of which remain in effect, calling on G-20 governments to redouble their efforts to keep their markets open, and to advance trade opening as a way to counter slowing global economic growth.

It added that as “in previous monitoring reports, trade restrictions and inward-looking policies will only aggravate global problems and risk generating tit-for-tat reactions. The difficulties and concerns generated by the persistence of the global economic crisis, with its many facets, fuel the political and economic pressures put on governments to raise trade barriers. This is not the time to succumb to these pressures”.

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