Protectionism in the G20 (2012)

19-11-2012

Since global trade flows fell in 2008-2009, G20 countries have played a key role in preventing the return to protectionism that characterised the Great Depression. Their commitment to holding protectionism at bay has consequently contributed to reduce the impact of global crisis on the world economy, and their importance in avoiding scenarios even worse than the one we are currently experiencing is undeniable. Several G20 countries, however, have repeatedly resorted to measures that can only be described as 'trade restrictive'. Although the number of new restrictive measures fell in 2012, their overall accumulation remains a problem, as the rate of removal remains very low. The measures that have been introduced display two principal characteristics. Firstly, they were introduced in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and later mutated into ad-hoc measures aimed at shielding key domestic industries. Secondly, the bulk of these measures were introduced by developing economies — Argentina, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil were among the main offenders. The EU perceives these measures as both difficult to justify and harmful to the Union's external trade.

Since global trade flows fell in 2008-2009, G20 countries have played a key role in preventing the return to protectionism that characterised the Great Depression. Their commitment to holding protectionism at bay has consequently contributed to reduce the impact of global crisis on the world economy, and their importance in avoiding scenarios even worse than the one we are currently experiencing is undeniable. Several G20 countries, however, have repeatedly resorted to measures that can only be described as 'trade restrictive'. Although the number of new restrictive measures fell in 2012, their overall accumulation remains a problem, as the rate of removal remains very low. The measures that have been introduced display two principal characteristics. Firstly, they were introduced in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and later mutated into ad-hoc measures aimed at shielding key domestic industries. Secondly, the bulk of these measures were introduced by developing economies — Argentina, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil were among the main offenders. The EU perceives these measures as both difficult to justify and harmful to the Union's external trade.