As part of the WTO Director-General’s mid-year report on trade-related developments issued this month, WTO members recorded the lowest monthly average of new trade restrictions since the financial crisis of 2008. The report, which covers a time period of mid-October 2016 to mid-May 2017, shows 74 new trade-restrictive measures initiated by WTO members, including new or increased tariffs, customs regulations and quantitative restrictions, about 11 per month. Over the previous year, an average of 15 new restrictive measures per month were enacted.
During the same time period, WTO members applied 80 new trade facilitation measures, including eliminating or reducing tariffs and simplifying customs procedures. The trade coverage of import-facilitating measures was $183 Billion USD, which was three times the estimated trade coverage of import-restrictive measures ($49B USD). The 2015 expansion of the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was credited as an important contributor to trade facilitation. WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevedo, was pleased and urged WTO members to continue showing moderation and restraint in their use of trade restrictions.
For more information, please visit the World Trade Organization’s website.