Sharp increase in protectionism

8 June 2012

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8 June 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

There has been a large rise in the number of ‘protectionist’ trade restrictions introduced in the past eight months.

G20 nations have introduced 123 new trade restrictions in the period, accounting for 25 per cent of all restrictive measures introduced since October 2008.

According to the Ninth Report on Potentially Trade Restrictive Measures published by the European Commission this week, there are now 534 restrictive measures in place.

Over the same period of eight months, only 13 trade-restrictive measures have been removed. "Clearly G20 members need to seriously step up their efforts to fight protectionism," said EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht in a statement.

The report emphasised that emerging economies including Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Russia have introduced the highest number of restrictions. These include Argentina’s extension of administrative pre-registration procedures for the import of goods, India’s export ban on raw cotton and Russian legislation to introduce preferential policies in its public procurement for domestically manufactured cars.

"Let us remind ourselves that the G20 pledged to end such practices and that protectionism benefits no one. It sends the wrong signal to global trading partners, it sends the wrong signal to investors and it sends the wrong signal to the business community, which relies on a predictable business climate," added De Gucht.

The EU has called on G20 nations to reinforce the transparency of all trade measures to enable the monitoring of protectionism. The issue is to be addressed at the G20 Mexico Summit on 18 and 19 June 2012.

The report covered 31 of the EU’s trading partners from September 2011 to May 2012.

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