Monday, July 06, 2009

Governments push up trade barriers

Interesting to note that a new WTO report shows governments across the world have increased barriers to trade in recent months.

FT has the details in, "WTO sees increase in barriers to trade":

"Governments around the world have continued to push up trade barriers in spite of high-profile pledges at the G20 summit and other forums to resist protectionism, according to a World Trade Organisation report to be published today.

Over the past three months, the WTO recorded 83 trade-restricting measures undertaken by 24 countries and the European Union - more than double the number of trade-liberalising measures enacted during the same period. However, the report noted that the worst abuses had largely been contained...

...The WTO warned that a surge of new anti-dumping investigations could materialise as the economic crisis dragged on. It also lowered its forecast for world trade; it is now predicting that the volume for goods and services will contract 10 per cent this year as opposed to the 9 per cent previously expected. "In the past three months there has been further slippage towards more trade restricting and distorting policies," the report concludes."

As the global economic outlook remains uncertain (despite the oft-heralded announcements of economic "green shoots" in the mainstream press), protectionism is on the rise.

For more perspective on the global economy and the workings of globalization, see our notes on Niall Ferguson's recent interview with Bloomberg TV, and (as always) feel free to add your two cents in here.