WTO / TRADE MEASURES

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12-Dec-2018 00:02:15
World Trade Organization issued its annual report on trade measures which found that during the period covered, trade measures covered close to 600 billion dollars, a seven-fold increase over the previous period. WTO

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STORY: WTO / TRADE MEASURES
TRT: 2:15
SOURCE: WTO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 11-12 DECEMBER 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

12 DECEMBER 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, WTO headquarters entrance
2. Wide shot, pan right, WTO entrance with logo
3. Med shot, delegates arriving for General Council meeting at the WTO
4. Med shot, delegates arriving for General Council meeting at the WTO
5. Wide shot, pan right, General Council meeting under way
6. Wide shot, officials at the podium during General Council meeting
7. Wide shot, officials at the podium during General Council meeting
8. Med shot, European Union delegation in the General Council
9. Med shot, Japan delegation in the General Council
10. Med shot, delegates watching meeting from gallery

12 DECEMBER 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

11. Wide shot, Director-General Azevêdo and Ambassador Laourou of Benin, chair of the meeting
12. Wide shot, TPRB meeting under way
13. Med shot, officials at podium during TPRB meeting
14. Med shot, delegates attending TPRB meeting
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, WTO:
"This is the largest coverage of such measures recorded by this trade monitoring exercise since it began. This should be of course of great concern to the WTO membership."
16. Med shot, delegates attending TPRB meeting
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, WTO:
"We all have witnessed the tensions in the global trading environment over the past months. And this proliferation of trade restrictive measures and the uncertainty created by such actions could place economic recovery in jeopardy. Further escalation would carry potentially large risks for global trade, with knock-on effects for economic growth, jobs and consumer prices around the world."
18. Med shot, delegates attending TPRB meeting
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, WTO:
"I urge Members to use all means at their disposal to de-escalate the situation. We may be beginning to see some progress, but as yet we clearly still have some way to go. We all need to engage in a 'solution finding mode' to dissipate these tensions."
20. Various shots, delegates listening to DG Azevêdo

STORYLINE:

The General Council, the topmost decision-making body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met on 12 December 2018 for its final meeting of the year. The agenda had topics such as WTO reform, proposals for the Dispute Settlement System's operation and concerns about the blockage in appointing new Appellate Body members.

Discussions take place amid a backdrop of slowing trade growth and heightened tensions in global trade. One day before, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo issued his annual report on trade measures. During the period covered by the report, trade measures covered close to 600 billion dollars, a seven-fold increase over the previous period.

SOUNDBITE (English) Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, WTO:
"This is the largest coverage of such measures recorded by this trade monitoring exercise since it began. This should be of course of great concern to the WTO membership."

The report shows that 137 new trade-restrictive measures were put in place by members during the review period, including tariffs increases, quantitative restrictions, import taxes and export duties. This equates to an average of 11 new measures per month, which is higher compared to the average of nine recorded in the previous annual overview (mid-October 2016 to mid-October 2017).

During the same period, WTO members also implemented 162 measures aimed at facilitating trade, including eliminating or reducing tariffs and simplified customs procedures for imports and exports. At close to 14 trade-facilitating measures per month, this is an increase compared to the average of 11 measures in the previous annual overview.

Azevêdo said "we all have witnessed the tensions in the global trading environment over the past months. And this proliferation of trade restrictive measures and the uncertainty created by such actions could place economic recovery in jeopardy. Further escalation would carry potentially large risks for global trade, with knock-on effects for economic growth, jobs and consumer prices around the world."

The report also found that the estimated trade coverage of import-facilitating measures (US$ 295.6 billion) has also risen significantly during the review period and is 1.8 times larger than the figure reported in the previous annual overview. However, this trade coverage is half that of trade-restrictive measures, which amounts to US$ 588.3 billion – more than seven times larger than that recorded a year ago.

The review recorded a similar trend in initiations of trade remedy investigations by WTO members and a sharp increase in terminations of trade remedy actions. Trade remedy measures continued to be a very important trade policy tool for members accounting for about 63% of all trade measures captured in this report. The trade coverage of trade remedy initiations and terminations recorded in the report is estimated at US$ 93.6 billion (US$ 17 billion more than a year ago) and US$ 18.3 billion (US$ 6 billion more), respectively.

In his speech, Azevêdo urged members “to use all means at their disposal to de-escalate the situation. We may be beginning to see some progress, but as yet we clearly still have some way to go. We all need to engage in a 'solution finding mode' to dissipate these tensions."

This Report covers new trade and trade-related measures implemented by WTO Members between 16 October 2017 and 15 October 2018. It shows a number of important trends and developments in global trade policy making. While WTO Members continued to implement trade-facilitating measures, the figures show a significant increase in trade coverage of trade-restrictive measures. This provides a first factual insight into the trade-restrictive measures imposed in the context of current trade tensions.
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