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G-20 needs to redouble efforts to avoid trade tensions: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 15:18

New Delhi: India and other G-20 nations should redouble their efforts to avoid trade tensions among them even though new trade restrictive measures by member countries have slowed in the past five months, says a report.

The observations are part of the joint report titled 'G-20 Trade and Investment Measures' prepared by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

"We renew our appeal to G-20 governments to redouble their efforts to strengthen multilateral cooperation and to seek to avoid situations that would create trade tensions between them," the report said.

However, there has been a slowdown in the imposition of new trade restrictive measures by G-20 economies over the past five months.

Emphasising that G-20 governments should show leadership in preserving market openness, the report said the world urgently needs a stronger and renewed commitment to revitalise the multilateral trading system.

"The multilateral trading and investment system needs to continue acting as an insurance policy against protectionism," it noted.

According to the report, India, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Russia and Turkey amended their investment policies, while almost exclusively reducing restrictions to international capital flows and improving clarity for investors.

The report reviewed the trade and trade-related measures implemented by G-20 economies during the period mid-May to mid-October this year.

G-20 members have continued to honour their pledge not to introduce new restrictive investment measures but persistent high unemployment, turbulence in financial markets and a weak economic recovery put intense pressure on governments to grant assistance to individual domestic companies and to preserve jobs, the report said.

"As a result, governments may resort to policies or practices that discriminate against foreign investors or discourage outward investment," it added.

In recent times, the global economy has been witnessing strong headwinds. The WTO Secretariat has revised downward its forecast for 2012 world trade growth to 2.5 percent from earlier projection of 3.7 percent.

The volume of trade growth in 2013 is now forecast to be at 4.5 percent, still below the long-term annual average of 5.4 percent for the last 20 years.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said the "temptation towards protectionism is as strong on Thursday as ever with the crisis continuing to undermine our economies".

Among others, The US, Germany and France are part of G-20 grouping.


First Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 15:18
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