G20

Opinion: “Slight Deceleration” in G20 Trade Restrictions but Continued Vigilance Needed

The latest report by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on G20 trade measures shows a slight deceleration in the application of new trade-restrictive measures by G20 economies, with the average number of such measures applied per month lower than at any time since 2013.According to the thirteenth such WTO report, issued on Jun. 15, G20 economies had applied 119 new trade-restrictive measures since mid-October 2014, an average of 17 new measures per month over the period.A slight decrease in the number of trade remedy investigations by G20 economies has also contributed to this overall figure.But it is not yet clear that this deceleration will continue and the WTO calls on G20 leaders to show continued vigilance and reinforced determination towards eliminating existing trade restrictions.The longer term trend remains one of concern, with the overall stock of trade-restrictive measures introduced by G20 economies since 2008 continuing to rise.Of the 1,360 restrictions recorded by this exercise since 2008, less than one-quarter have been eliminated, leaving the total number of restrictive measures still in place at 1,031. Therefore, despite the G20 pledge to roll back any new protectionist measures, the stock of these measures has risen by over seven percent since the last report.The broader international economic context also supports the need for continuing vigilance and action. According to the WTO’s most recent forecast (14 April 2015), growth in the volume of world merchandise trade should increase from 2.8 percent in 2014 to 3.3% percent 2015 and further to four percent in 2016, but remaining below historical averages.[pullquote]3[/pullquote]The overall response to the 2008 financial crisis has been more muted than expected when compared with previous crises. The multilateral trading system has proved an effective backstop against protectionism.During this period, G20 economies also continued to adopt measures aimed at facilitating trade, both temporary and permanent in nature.These developments confirm that G20 economies overall have shown a degree of restraint in introducing new trade restrictions. However, it is not yet clear that the deceleration in the number of measures introduced will continue in future reporting periods. It is also relevant that the slow pace of removal of previous restrictions means that the overall stock of restrictive measures is continuing to increase.The broader international economic context also supports the need for continuing vigilance and action.Trends in world trade and output have remained mixed since the last monitoring report, as merchandise trade volumes and GDP growth picked up in the second half of 2014 but appear to have slowed in the first quarter of 2015.Economic activity remained uneven across countries as the United States and China slowed in the first quarter, while growth in the Euro area and Japan picked up.Plunging oil prices and strong exchange rate fluctuations, including an appreciation of the U.S. dollar and a depreciation of the Euro contributed uncertainty to the economic outlook.[related_articles]Lower prices for oil and other primary commodities were expected to provide a boost to importing economies, but reduced export revenues weighed heavily on commodity exporters.In light of these developments, our most recent forecast (14 April 2015) predicted a continued moderate expansion of trade in 2015 and 2016, although the pace of recovery was expected to remain below historical averages.In the area of government procurement, work from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), identifying 65 measures implemented since the financial crisis, suggests that discriminatory government procurement policies have become increasingly popular and potentially affect 423 billion dollars of government procurement in the implementing economies.This report shows that G20 economies implemented 48 new general economic support measures during the period under review, with the majority targeting the manufacturing and agricultural sectors through various incentive schemes, often, but not exclusively, in the context of exports.The overall assessment of this thirteenth report on G20 trade measures is that the continuing increase in the stock of new trade-restrictive measures recorded since 2008 remains of concern in the context of an uncertain global economic outlook.Individually and collectively, the G20 must show leadership and deliver on the pledge to refrain from implementing new measures taken for protectionist purposes and to remove existing ones. (END/COLUMNIST SERVICE)Edited by Phil Harris   The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, IPS - Inter Press Service. 

Opinion: G20 Turkish Presidency Keen to Benefit the Global Community

Turkey assumed the Presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) on Dec. 1, 2014. It will culminate in the Antalya Summit on Nov. 15-16. Our priorities build upon the G20 multi-year agenda, but also reflect particular themes we see as important for 2015.

Corporate Tax Dodging Cheats Africa Out of 6 Billion Dollars, Says Oxfam

G7-based companies and investors cheated Africa out of an estimated six billion dollars in a year through just one form of tax dodging, according to a new Oxfam report ‘Money talks: Africa at the G7’, released Jun. 2.

Opinion: Climate Change Continues, Impervious to Official Declarations

It is now clear that we are not going to reach the goal of controlling climate change.

OPINION: The Decline of Social Europe is Part of a World Trend

After the Italian sea search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum at a cost of nine million euros a month, through which the Italian Navy has rescued nearly 100,000 migrants – although perhaps up to 3,000 have died – from the Mediterranean since October 2013, Europe is now presenting its new face in the Mediterranean.

The Future of the Planet and the Irresponsibility of Governments

Less than a week after everybody celebrated the historical agreement on Nov. 17 between the United States and China on reduction of CO2 emissions, a very cold shower has come from India.

U.S. Proposes Major Debt Relief for Ebola-Hit Countries

The United States proposed Tuesday that the international community write off 100 million dollars in debt owed by West African countries hit hardest by the current Ebola outbreak. The money would be re-invested in health and other public programming.

OPINION: Obstacles to Development Arising from the International System

As the international community wades into the political discussions regarding the alternatives to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as mandated by the Rio+20 conference, it is timely to consider the question of whether development is a matter mostly of individual effort on the part of nation-states or whether there are elements in the international economic system that could serve as significant obstacles to national development efforts.

Why Are G20 Governments Subsidising Dangerous Climate Change?

Just a week after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave its starkest warning yet that the vast majority of existing oil, gas and coal reserves need to be kept in the ground, a new report reveals that governments are flagrantly ignoring these warnings and continuing to subsidise exploration for fossil fuels.

BRICS – The End of Western Dominance of the Global Financial and Economic Order

The sixth BRICS Summit which has just ended in Brazil marks the transition of a grouping based hitherto on shared concerns to one based on shared interests.

Fragility of WTO’s Bali Package Exposed

The “fragility” of the World Trade Organization’s ‘Bali package’ was brought into the open at the weekend meeting in Sydney, Australia, of trade ministers from the world’s 20 major economies (G20).

U.S. Blasted on Failure to Ratify IMF Reforms

While Republicans complain relentlessly about U.S. President Barack Obama’s alleged failure to exert global leadership on geo-political issues like Syria and Ukraine, they are clearly undermining Washington’s leadership of the world economy.

Russia Expelled From G8, but G20? Not So Fast

When Western powers, led by the United States, decided to throw Russia out of the Group of 8 (G8) industrial nations, it was aimed at punishing and "isolating" President Vladimir Putin for his intervention in Ukraine and "annexation" of Crimea.

G20 Urges U.S. Action on IMF Reforms by April

The Group of 20 (G20) industrialised and emerging economies on Sunday formally expressed frustration with the ongoing inability of the United States to approve a major reform package that would see governance at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shift more towards developing countries.

OECD in “Game-Changing” Move to Halt Tax Evasion

A major grouping of rich countries has unveiled a new model for the automatic exchange of certain individual financial information between countries, aimed at significantly cutting down on offshore tax evasion.

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