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WTO: Trade flows hit by historically high new trade restrictions

In a report published today, WTO said “turbulence in global trade continued” during the period from October 2018 to May 2019.  New import-restrictive measures introduced by G20 economies during this period was more than 3.5 times the average since May 2012. Total import-restrictive measures stood at USD 335.9B, second highest on record, just after USD 480.9B reported in the previous period. Most importantly, together these two periods represent a “dramatic spike” in the trade coverage of import-restrictive measures.

Commenting on the report, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “This report provides further evidence that the turbulence generated by current trade tensions is continuing, with trade flows being hit by new trade restrictions on a historically high level. The stable trend that we saw for almost a decade since the financial crisis has been replaced with a steep increase in the size and scale of trade-restrictive measures over the last year. This will have consequences in increased uncertainty, lower investment and weaker trade growth.

“These findings should be of serious concern for the whole international community. We urgently need to see leadership from the G20 to ease trade tensions and follow through on their commitment to trade and to the rules-based international trading system.”

Full report here.

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