Ahead of the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization taking place next week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, new analysis from the intergovernmental body paints a mixed picture of the international trading environment.
According to the WTO’s annual trade policy review, while countries are using trade remedies more frequently than in previous years, they have also generally been implementing fewer restrictive measures.
WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo said the lessening of trade barriers over the past year was “encouraging, but of course it could be much better” and to that end, he urged member countries “to redouble efforts to refrain from implementing new trade-restrictive measures, and to reverse existing measures.”
Not surprisingly considering the protectionist sentiments of the Trump administration, the United States accounted for the bulk of the global increase in antidumping duties and the entirety of the global increase in countervailing duties during the period of review, which for trade remedies was from July 2016 to June 2017.
On the countervailing duty side, the U.S. nearly doubled the number of measures it imposed while the rest of the world imposed the same amount of CVD measures. The U.S. implemented 21 CVD measures during the review period and 11 the year before. Four WTO members accounted for the seven other CVD measures imposed globally during the review period. The previous year, six members imposed seven CVD measures.
The report found that between mid-October 2016 and mid-October 2017, members had imposed 108 new trade-restrictive measures, which amounts to six fewer measures a month than in the previous year. Trade-restrictive measures are defined as new or increased tariffs, customs regulations, quantitative restrictions and local content measures and do not include new trade remedies.