One year gone but no progress on trade for G20

DESPITE a commitment to reject protectionism in the aftermath of the financial crash, G20 leaders meeting in St Petersburg later this week have stalled on measures to improve global trade in the past year.

One report released by the European Commission yesterday found that 150 new restrictions on trade were introduced around the world in the past year, while only 18 existing measures were removed.

According to similar new research from Global Trade Alert (GTA), run by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, no progress has been made to push back against protectionism in the last 12 months, despite assurances at the Los Cabos meeting in 2012.

The GTA highlights the UK as a main offender, responsible for 114 of the 1,527 harmful measures against trade in the past five years, nearly twice as many as the US. The GTA ranks the UK seventh for using measures which are almost certainly discriminatory.

Professor Simon Evenett, professor of international trade and co-ordinator of the report, commented: “No holds barred criticism of new protectionism should become the norm. If International Monetary Fund can stand up to national governments, why can’t the World Trade Organisation?”