Protectionism is still rife in global trade circles with Russia, China, India and Indonesia named by the European Commission (EC) as the worst recent offenders.
In the past 13 months, G20 members and other key EU trading partners have adopted a total of 170 new “trade-unfriendly measures” according to the EC’s latest annual report on protectionism. During the same time only 12 pre-existing trade barriers have been removed.
“I regret that many countries still consider protectionism a valid policy tool,” said EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström. “This goes clearly against the G20’s commitment to abstain from imposing trade restrictions and to removing existing ones.”
Adding that such protectionism was damaging to global value chains, she urged the EU’s trading partners to starting give real proof of their “collective commitment to openness in trade”.
The EC report shows that the number of measures applied at borders, to obstruct trade, has continued to rise in the past year, with Russia applying the highest number of individual measures affecting imports.
The number of new export restrictions has also risen, a trend that the EC said was particularly worrying.
“Countries resorted more frequently to discriminatory internal taxation, technical regulations or localisation requirements to shield their markets from foreign competition,” said the report, with China introducing the highest number of such measures.