REPORT CARD: The G20 Has Already Failed To Lift Trade Restrictions Globally

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane this weekend will have to face the reality they have already failed when it comes to liberalising trade, a key plank in their plan to lift the global economy.

The 20 countries have in fact added more restrictions to trade despite a pledge to roll back protectionism.

A joint assessment by the OECD, World Trade Organisation and UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) shows the G20 economies applied 93 new trade restrictions between May and October this year, or about 18 new measures per month.

“Continuing uncertainties in the global economy underline the need for G20 economies to show
restraint in the imposition of new measures and to effectively eliminate existing ones,” the assessment says.

Of the 1,244 restrictive measures recorded since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 only 282 have been removed.

The total number of restrictive measures still in place now stands at 962, up by 12% from the end of the reporting period in November 2013.

G20 leaders meet in Brisbane this weekend with global economic growth the main focus through reforming financial regulations, modernising the international tax system, strengthening energy market resilience and identifying how the G20 can strengthen global trade.

At their last summit in St Petersburg, Russia, in September 2013, G20 Leaders delivered a strong statement of commitment to free trade and investment as a crucial element for restoring global growth.

The OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) estimates that actions to reduce global trade costs by 1% could result in a worldwide income increase of US $40 billion, with 65% of the benefits to developing countries.

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