According to a report from the World Trade Organization, the overall number of trade restrictions among the world’s top economies has doubled in just six months. The organization’s leader said that this trend is hurting the global economic growth.
“This continued escalation poses a serious threat to growth and recovery in all countries, and we are beginning to see this reflected in some forward-looking indicators,” said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
WTO stated that between mid-October 2017 and mid-May 2018, the countries part of the G20 group of large economies imposed 39 new trade restrictions. This is twice as much as the previous 6 month period.
“The marked increase in new trade restrictive measures among G20 economies should be of real concern to the international community,” Azevêdo said.
“I urge G20 leaders to show restraint in applying new measures and to urgently de-escalate the situation,” he added.
However, the report also concludes that, despite imposing tariffs, the G20 countries were also putting in place other policies which ease trade, 47 in total. That figure was “marginally” higher than the one in the previous period.
The WTO report comes as President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. role in the WTO, which has been the basis of international trade law for decades.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday stated that it was a “little premature” to talk about withdrawing from the organization.
Meanwhile, new U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods are due to come into effect on Friday. China said it would immediately enact counter-tariffs on U.S. goods if the plans are not scrapped.