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World Trade Organization – Reports On Recent Trade Developments

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Open Eyes Opinion {source: WTO}




Increasing stockpile of trade-restrictive measures “a cause for concern”

The increasing stockpile of trade-restrictive measures introduced by WTO members remains a cause for concern, and continued vigilance is required, according to the latest report on trade-related developments presented on 23 July by WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo. On the positive side, an increasing number of trade-liberalizing measures, such as tariff-cutting measures, were adopted by WTO members during the period under review, 16 October 2014 to 15 May 2015.

Key findings

104 new trade-restrictive measures (excluding trade remedy measures) were put in place in the reporting period 16 October 2014 to 15 May 2015 — an average of around 15 new measures per month.

This monthly rate has remained relatively stable since 2012, though the overall stock of measures nevertheless continues to rise.

Of the 2,416 measures recorded since October 2008, less than 25% have been removed, leaving the stock of restrictive measures still in place at 1,828. This represents an increase of 12% compared to the last report.

This remains a cause for concern and continued vigilance is required from WTO members.

More encouragingly, WTO Members have adopted more trade-liberalizing measures (excluding trade remedy actions) than trade-restrictive measures since the end of 2013. Continuing this trend, during the period under review, WTO Members implemented 114 new trade-liberalizing measures — an average of more than 16 measures per month.

The broader international economic context supports the need for vigilance and action with regard to trade-restrictive measures. According to the WTO’s most recent forecast (14 April 2015), growth in the volume of world merchandise trade should increase from 2.8% in 2014 to 3.3% in 2015 and further to 4.0% in 2016, but remaining below historical averages.

The multilateral trading system has proven its usefulness in providing a predictable and transparent framework governing trade between nations and in helping Members resist protectionist pressures as a response to the global economic and financial crisis and thereafter.

This role in providing a stable, predictable and transparent trading environment should be kept in mind as Members prepare for the WTO’s tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December.


Trade-restrictive measures, not including trade remedies

(Average per month)

Source:   WTO Secretariat.

Trade-facilitating measures, not including trade remedies

(Average per month)

Source:   WTO Secretariat.

Stockpile of restrictive measures1

Source:   WTO Secretariat.



1. Totals include measures listed in Annex 3 and initiations of trade remedy actions.


[photo credits – featured image: By E. Murray (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]




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