G20 economies need to reduce trade restrictions from historic highs – WTO

WASHINGTON, Nov 22: The Group of 20 economies must reduce the historic highs in their trade restrictions to avoid dragging global growth lower, the World Trade Organization said in a statement.
“Historically high levels of trade-restrictive measures are having a clear impact on growth, job creation and purchasing power around the world,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said on Thursday. “We need to see strong leadership from G20 economies if we want to avoid increased uncertainty, lower investment and even weaker trade growth.”
The WTO’s new Trade Monitoring Report shows that G20 economies from mid-May to mid-October introduced import-restrictive measures covering $460.4 billion in merchandise, a 37 percent increase from the previous period and second only to the $480.9 billion of coverage reported between mid-May and mid-October 2018.
Azevedo called on G20 states to de-escalate trade tensions to spur investment, growth and job creation.
The organization downgraded its forecast for merchandise trade growth in 2019 to 1.2 percent from April’s estimate of 2.6 percent, he said.

The WTO report indicated that the slowdown in trade growth coincided with increasingly negative forward-looking indicators including export orders derived from purchasing managers’ indices and measures of economic policy uncertainty.