G20 nations impose 39 new trade restrictions in 7 months, says WTO

The trade-restrictive measures in G20 economies have doubled compared to the previous review period.

New Delhi: G20 members including India and the US have applied as many as 39 new trade-restrictive measures such as higher duties and taxes as also stricter customs procedures during seven months to mid-May, a WTO report has said.

G20 is a group of developed and developing countries which also includes Australia, Brazil, China, France, UK, EU, Germany, Japan, Korea, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.

The trade-restrictive measures in G20 economies have doubled compared to the previous review period, the report said. "This equates to an average of almost six restrictive measures per month, which is significantly higher than the three measures recorded during the previous review period," the World Trade Organisation said.

WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo said the marked increase in such measures among G20 economies should be of "real concern" to the international community.

"Additional trade-restrictive measures have been announced in the weeks since this reporting period and therefore the deterioration in trade relations may be even worse than that recorded here," he added. He said this continued escalation poses a "serious threat" to the global trade growth.

The report comes against the backdrop of trade wars intensifying globally, led by the US and China, in the past couple of months. Increase in trade restrictive steps is not a good news for India as it would impact exports growth of the country.

It is taking several steps to promote the outbound shipments, which helps create employment opportunities, earn foreign exchange and boost economic activities.

Since 2011-12, India's exports have been hovering at around USD 300 billion. During 2017-18, the shipments grew by about 10 per cent to USD 303 billion. The report also added that the G20 economies implemented 47 measures to facilitate trade during this review period.

These included elimination or cut in tariffs, simplified import and export customs procedures and reduction of import taxes. At an average of almost seven trade-facilitating measures per month, this is marginally higher than the six measures recorded in the previous reporting period (mid-May 2018 to mid-October 2017).

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