Freeing up global trade still proceeds
MORE STEPS to free up trade globally have been taken since Donald Trump was elected than measures to restrict it, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said, despite concerns his administration would introduce a raft of punitive rules to protect US jobs. The WTO’s global monitoring report, debated at a trade policy review yesterday, covers October 2016 to May 2017. “The report shows an encouraging decrease in the rate of new trade-restrictive measures put in place – hitting the lowest monthly average since the financial crisis,” WTO directorgeneral Roberto Azevêdo said. The semi-annual report, largely coinciding with the period since the election of US President Donald Trump, showed that the 164 WTO members put 74 new restrictive measures in place, including tariffs, customs regulations and quantitative restrictions, with an impact of $49 billion (R632.5bn) of trade. At the same time, they took 80 steps to help trade, such as cutting tariffs or simplifying customs procedures, affecting a much bigger $183bn of trade. Traderestrictive steps peaked at 22 per month in 2011, roughly twice the level in the period of the latest report. During the period under review, the US brought in “Buy America” provisions.