EU alarmed over sharp increase in protectionism across G20

06 June 2012 15:04  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The EU is worried about increased protectionism, especially within the G20 group of countries, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

In a report, the commission identified “a staggering increase in protectionism around the world with 123 new trade restrictions introduced over the last eight months.”

In the report the commission pointed, as one example, to a measure on border crossing points put forward by Russia last month that would, if implemented, severely restrict trade between the EU and Russia for a range of products, including chemicals.

“Russia deserves close scrutiny as one of the most frequent users of trade-restrictive measures that may not be in conformity with its obligations as an upcoming member of the WTO [World Trade Organization],” the commission said.

It also pointed to Argentina’s decision to expropriate 51% of the shares of oil and gas firm YPF owned by Spain’s Repsol, as well as Argentina’s administrative pre-registration procedures for imported goods.

"Clearly G20 members need to seriously step up their efforts to fight protectionism,” said EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.

"Let us remind ourselves that the G20 pledged to end such practices and that protectionism benefits no one,” De Gucht said.

“It sends the wrong signal to global trading partners, it sends the wrong signal to investors and it sends the wrong signal to the business community which relies on a predictable business climate," he added.

The commission's report is available on the website of the EU’s directorate general for trade.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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