WTO report: International trade flows have rebounded strongly, trade-restrictive measures decline

Countries are using trade remedies slightly more than in previous years while fewer trade restrictive measures are being implemented, according to an annual report on the international trading environment published by the World Trade Organization on Monday.

According to a letter by WTO Director General Azevedo, "International trade flows have rebounded strongly during the last 12 months after a sharp slowdown in 2016. In September we upgraded our forecast for trade growth in 2017. This was due to a sharp acceleration in global trade growth in the first half of the year. The original forecast was 2.4 per cent, and we are now forecasting growth of 3.6 per cent. "

KEY FINDINGS

  • WTO Members applied 108 new trade-restrictive measures during the review period from mid-October 2016 to mid-October 2017, including new or increased tariffs, customs
    procedures, quantitative restrictions and local content measures. This equates to an average of nine measures per month compared to fifteen in the previous period.
  • WTO Members also implemented 128 measures aimed at facilitating trade, including
    eliminated or reduced tariffs and simplified customs procedures. At almost
    11 trade-facilitating measures per month, this remains significantly lower than the monthly average of 18 recorded in the previous annual overview report. WTO Members continue to implement more trade-facilitating than trade-restrictive measures, a trend observed over the past four years.
  • It is noteworthy that the estimated trade coverage of import-facilitating measures
    (US$169 billion) is more than two times larger than that of import-restricting measures
    (US$79 billion). In addition, the import-facilitating measures implemented during the review
    period in the context of the ITA Expansion Agreement are estimated at around
    US$385 billion or 2.4{60f64eca3a32b5bb2ea8b8157c42bed521fa6a22c1f99cb6807b444ebbebb257} of the value of world merchandise imports.
    • On trade remedy measures, the review period saw a slight deceleration both in initiations of investigations and in terminations of measures, compared to the previous annual overview and to the whole of 2016. Anti-dumping measures continue to make up the bulk of all trade remedy initiations.
  • Transparency and predictability in trade policy remains vital for all actors in the global
    economy. Collectively, WTO Members must show leadership in reiterating their commitment to open and mutually beneficial trade as a key driver of economic growth and a major engine for prosperity. In preparing for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, Members must continue to work together to achieve a successful meeting in Buenos Aires in December.

 

 

 

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