WTO: Monitoring report on G20 trade measures

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On 30 June 2017 the WTO issued its seventeenth monitoring report on G20 trade measures. The report indicates that the number of trade restrictions in the G20 countries has slightly increased in comparison to previous years.

The report notes that 42 new trade-restrictive measures were implemented by G20 countries between mid-October 2016 and mid-May 2017. The measures included new or increased tariffs, customs regulations and restrictions on rules of origin. The G20 countries also applied 42 measures to facilitate trade during the same period. These measures included the elimination or reduction of tariffs and simplification of customs procedures.

The report notes that the estimated trade coverage of the measures to facilitate trade was US$163 billion and that this was significantly greater than the estimated trade coverage of the trade restrictive measures, estimated to be US$47 billion. The report notes that the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is contributing significantly to trade facilitation.

The most frequently applied measures was the initiation of trade remedy investigations. These measures cover anti-dumping actions, countervailing duty measures and safeguard actions to protect domestic industry. The report presents these measures as a separate category. Although they represented 50% of all trade measures taken in the period covered by the report they cover a relatively small amount of trade, US$25 billion for trade remedy initiations and US$6 billion for terminations of measures.

The report notes that the G20 leaders should emphasize their commitment to open and mutually beneficial trade as a driver of economic growth. The G20 countries should contribute to improving the global trading environment by implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, in force since February 2017. The countries are also urged to work together to achieve a successful outcome to the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in December 2017.

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