Between mid-October 2016 and mid-May 2017, members of Trade World Organization (WTO) recorded the lowest monthly average of new trade restrictions since the financial crisis of 2008, said a mid-year report on trade-related developments presented to WTO members Monday.
The report shows that 74 new trade-restrictive measures were initiated by WTO members during the review period, including new or increased tariffs, customs regulations and quantitative restrictions, amounting to almost 11 new measures per month.
This constitutes a significant decrease over the previous review period (mid-October 2015 to mid-October 2016), where an average of 15 measures per month were recorded.
"The report shows an encouraging decrease in the rate of new trade-restrictive measures put in place -- hitting the lowest monthly average since the financial crisis," said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo.
During the same period, WTO members applied 80 new measures (over 11 new measures per month) aimed at facilitating trade, including eliminating or reducing tariffs and simplifying customs procedures.
WTO also estimates that the trade coverage of import-facilitating measures (183 billion USD) was more than three times the estimated trade coverage of import-restrictive measures (49 billion USD).
"The larger trade coverage of import-facilitating measures during the review period is also a very positive development and a clear sign that WTO members are working to improve the global trading environment." said Azevedo.
He urged WTO members to continue showing moderation and restraint in their use of trade restrictions, despite the persistent uncertainty facing the global economy.
The report also calls on members to continue improving the global trading environment, including by implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which entered into force in February this year, and working together to achieve a successful outcome at the upcoming WTO ministerial conference in December in Buenos Aires.