G20 Sees Strains Under Protectionist Pressure

Report calls on countries to resist trade-hindering sanctions.

Leading industrialised and emerging nations appear to be buckling under protectionist pressure, with more trade-hindering measures imposed in the past six months than previously, international groups said on Tuesday.

"Over the past six months, most G20 governments have put in place more new trade restrictive measures than in previous periods since the crisis," noted the report by the World Trade Organization, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Conference for Trade and Development.

"Their restraint to resist protectionism appears to be under increasing pressure."

"The commitment to roll back export restrictions has not been followed; in fact, new export restrictions are on an increasing trend," said the report.

The three international agencies were charged by the Group of 20 to report on a semi-annual basis, developments surrounding protectionism.

In their latest report, they called for "increased vigilance in the coming months to prevent protectionism from gaining ground."

"The persistence of high levels of unemployment, macroeconomic imbalances, rising food prices and geopolitical tensions create conditions that are favourable to growing protectionist sentiment," it said.

"We urge G20 governments to remain united in their efforts to strengthen cooperation so that the multilateral trading system continues to serve them as an insurance policy against trade protectionism."

Copyright by Agence France-Presse, 2011

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