Member countries of the WTO have imposed 165 trade-restrictive measures during mid-October 2019 to mid-May 2020, mainly through tariff increases, import bans, export duties and stricter exports customs procedures, according to a report of the World Trade Organization.
"Between mid-October 2019 and mid-May 2020, WTO members implemented 363 new trade and trade-related measures, 198 of them trade-facilitating and 165 trade-restrictive. Most of them, 256 (about 71 per cent) were linked to the pandemic," it said.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, who presented the report to WTO members, said the report has made it clear that a substantial share of world trade continues to be affected by new and accumulated import-restrictive measures.
This is a cause for concern at a time when economies will need trade to rebuild from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, he added.
"WTO estimates indicate that the cumulative trade coverage of import-restrictive measures implemented since 2009, and still in force, amounts to USD 1.7 trillion or 8.7 per cent of world imports. This figure has grown steadily since 2009, both in value terms and as a percentage of world imports," the report said.
It showed that by mid-May 2020, WTO members implemented 256 trade and trade-related measures explicitly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, with export bans accounting for the totality of the pandemic-related export restrictions recorded.
India has been a member of Geneva-based WTO since January 1995. The organisation frames rules for global exports and imports. It currently has 164 members.