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Trade restrictions coverage in G20 countries rise on a historically high level

The latest edition (21th) of the WTO Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures, issued on 24 June 2019, concludes that trade restrictions in G20 countries, despite a significant decrease in their number (with respect to previous years), have kept expanding in terms of trade-coverage in the period from 16 October 2018 to 15 May 2019, by affecting larger quantities of products and services than in the past.

The G20 Trade Monitoring Report examines the latest trends for what concerns the implementation of trade policies in the G20 countries (Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; European Union; France; Germany; India; Indonesia; Italy; Japan; Korea; Mexico; the Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; South Africa; Turkey; United Kingdom and United States), by assessing the impact of such policies on facilitating or, rather, restricting the flow of trade. 
The report indicates that in the period covered by the analysis (16 October 2018 to 15 May 2019), G20 economies applied collectively a total of 20 new trade-restrictive measures, mainly through tariff increases, import bans and quantitative restrictions, as well as stricter customs procedures for exports, with an average of almost 3 (new) restrictive measures per month. The study observes that this is the lowest average since 2012, which means that G20 economies introduced fewer measures during the review period than the previous periods. However, the scale of those measures has much increased both in terms of trade-coverage (the WTO estimates that goods affected reach a value of USD 335.9 billion), and in terms of level of tariffs imposed at import. This means that despite the number of import restrictions has reduced in their complex, the number of products and services hit by them has grown, by reaching record levels: i.e. more than three-and-a-half times the average since May 2012, when the first WTO Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures was published. The main sectors affected by restrictive measures are machinery and mechanical appliances (19.2%); electrical machinery and parts thereof (15.7%); precious metals (10.8%); and furniture, mattresses and its support, lamps, prefabricated buildings (8.2%). 
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), as well as trade remedies (anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard investigations) started by the G20 economies are also analyzed. The report shows that during the period January 2017-December 2018 a total of 318 anti-dumping measures and 45 countervailing measures were imposed, with China and the Republic of Korea indicated as the countries most affected by trade remedies initiations. With regard to safeguard measures (temporary measures imposed in response to increased imports of goods causing serious injury to the internal market), the study reports 8 measures adopted during the concerned period.
G20 economies also implemented 29 new measures aimed at facilitating trade during the review period, mainly in the form of suppressions or reductions of import tariffs and export duties, or by eliminating or simplifying customs procedures for exports. An average of 4 new trade-facilitating measures per month is indicated in the report, which is the lowest monthly average registered since 2012. The trade coverage of the import-facilitating measures implemented during the review period (estimated in USD 397.2 billion), has however grown 1.8 times with respect to the trade coverage percentage calculated in the previous Report.







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