WTO members show restraint in trade restrictions despite economic uncertainties: report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-05 02:18:03|Editor: yan
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GENEVA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The World Trade Organization (WTO) said Monday that its members introduced fewer trade-restrictive measures from mid-October 2016 to mid-October 2017 compared to the previous year during a period of economic uncertainties.

The WTO director-general's annual overview report on trade-related developments was presented to members of the body governing global commerce on Monday.

International trade flows have rebounded strongly during the last 12 months after a sharp slowdown in 2016, said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, delivering the report to WTO members.

"In September we upgraded our forecast for trade growth in 2017. This was due to a sharp acceleration in global trade growth in the first half of the year. The original forecast was 2.4 percent, and we are now forecasting growth of 3.6 percent," said the WTO chief.

"This improved outlook is very welcome, but substantial risks that threaten the world economy remain in place and could easily undermine any trade recovery," he cautioned.

The report was issued ahead of the key decision-making WTO Ministerial Conference that will take place from Dec. 10 to 13 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Azevedo said that looking ahead, the world needs "to keep up the hard work to help facilitate trade... and course, this includes avoiding measures which can hamper and restrict trade flows."

The estimated trade coverage of the import-facilitating measures recorded in the review period was more than double the import-restricting measures.

In addition, the import-facilitating measures implemented during the review period in the context of the expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA) amounted to around 385 billion U.S. dollars.

WTO Members applied 108 new trade-restrictive measures during the review period from mid-October 2016 to mid-October 2017.

This included new or increased tariffs, customs procedures, quantitative restrictions and local content measures and equates to an average of nine measures a month compared to fifteen in the previous period.

The report also found that WTO Members also implemented 128 measures aimed at facilitating trade, including eliminated or reduced tariffs and simplified customs procedures.