Fabian Demicoli

EU Concerned Over Rise In Protection Across G20

 On 19 October 2011, the European Commission DG Trade published the 8th Report on potentially trade restrictive measures adopted by third countries in the aftermath of the economic crisis. The Report's findings call again for close attention to the recent wave of trade restrictions adopted in particular by emerging economies over the past twelve months.


The analysis online:


It paints a worrisome picture, indicating the constantly growing number of new potentially trade restrictive measures increasingly becoming part of targeted industrialization policies by third countries. In addition to their individual distortive potential, many measures have a mutually reinforcing character, being part and parcel of the same industrialisation package.

The increasing trade restrictive measures pose a systemic market access problem, as many measures introduced during the economic crisis have remained in force, and are frequently prolonged. Moreover, the number of measures that lapsed in the past twelve months remains unsatisfying if compared to the emergence of new restrictions.

All in all, the Commission notes 424 measures remaining in force or planned by third countries and G20 economies in particular. In the past twelve months, 131 new measures have been noted. Only 17% of all measures have been removed so far (76), with 40 measures eliminated or lapsing in the past year.

The Commission remains particularly concerned about measures adopted in the area of government procurement as well as by export duties and other export restrictions.

The WTO report on trade-related developments in G20 countries, issued on 26 October 2011, confirms these worrisome trends, admitting that some countries, instead of fulfilling the Washington commitment, pursue a policy in the opposite direction. The WTO figures on removal of measures in place (19%) coincide with those of the EU (17%).

These findings clearly indicate insufficient respect by G20 countries for their standstill and roll-back commitments consistently made since the onset of the economic crisis. The upcoming G20 summit in Cannes on 3-4 November provides another opportunity to highlight the importance of resisting protectionist tendencies among the major economies.

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