G20 trade measures becoming more restrictive, says WTO report.

Trade measures implemented by G20 economies have become more restrictive in recent months, according to the 30th WTO Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures. Between mid-May and mid-October 2023, G20 economies introduced more trade-restrictive measures on goods compared to trade-facilitating measures. Although the value of traded merchandise covered by facilitating measures still exceeded that covered by restrictions, the the gap between them narrowed significantly. Export restrictions on food, feed, and fertilizers were particularly relevant.

The report was released amidst a period of slow growth in world trade. The WTO’s latest estimate projected merchandise trade volume growth of 0.8% in 2023 (down from the previous estimate of 1.7%).

There was no significant reduction in existing import restrictions implemented by G20 economies since 2009. Export restrictions, largely influenced by COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and the food security crisis, have become more prominent since 2020.

The report also highlighted the negative impact of successive crises and an uncertain economic environment on foreign direct investment (FDI), making it more challenging to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Notably, there is a widening gap in SDG investment in developing countries, indicating a deficit in the required investment for sustainable development. According to OECD data, this gap has alarmingly increased from USD 2.5 trillion to approximately USD 4 trillion per year leading up to 2030.