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Trade Restrictive Measures 'Worryingly High,' Says WTO

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

13 December 2016

The World Trade Organization's latest trade monitoring report shows WTO members introduced 182 new trade-restrictive measures including trade tariffs and taxes in the 12-month period to mid-October 2016, the WTO announced on December 9.

At an average of 15 new trade restrictive measures per month, this represents a decline on the 20-per-month average seen in 2015. However, the WTO said that the number of new trade-restrictive measures being introduced remains "worryingly high given continuing global economic uncertainty and the WTO's downward revision of its trade forecasts."

"Trade restrictive measures can have a chilling effect on trade flows, with knock-on effects for economic growth and job creation," WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said. "In the context of a challenging economic scenario, it is more important than ever that WTO members adopt policies which will support trade and ensure that its benefits reach as many people as possible."

According to report, of the of the 2,978 trade-restrictive measures put in place by WTO members since 2008, only 740 had been removed by mid-October 2016.

The overall stock of measures has increased by almost 17 percent compared with the previous annual overview, with the total number of restrictive measures still in place now standing at 2,238, the WTO noted.

However, the effect of these trade restrictions have been offset somewhat by the continued adoption of new trade-facilitating measures, of which 216 were implemented during the period under review. At an average of 18 measures per month, this was slightly above the average 2009-2015 trend.

These trade facilitating measures include a number of tariff cuts taken under the expanded Information Technology Agreement.

TAGS: tax | law | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | trade

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