"Global Trade Alert, a respected independent survey, titled a June update on trade protections “Debacle.” It bumped up its estimate of the number of protectionist measures enacted in 2010 and 2011, by 36 percent, and warned that countries had many more coming.
The European Union also issued a report finding a “staggering increase in protectionism” in recent months."
From the WTO report summary:
"Implementation of new trade restrictions continues unabated …
Since mid-October 2011, 124 new trade restrictive measures have been recorded, affecting around 1.1% of G-20 merchandise imports, or 0.9% of world imports. The main measures are trade remedy actions, tariff increases, import licences and customs controls. There were fewer new export restrictions introduced over the past seven months than in previous periods.
The more recent wave of trade restrictions seems no longer to be aimed at combatting the temporary effects of the global crisis, but rather at trying to stimulate recovery through national industrial planning, which is an altogether longer-term affair. In addition to trade restrictions, many of these plans envisage the granting of tax concessions and the use of government subsidies, as well as domestic preferences in government procurement and local content requirements.
Accumulation of trade restrictions has become a major concern …
The new measures restricting or potentially restricting trade that were implemented over the past seven months are adding to the trade restrictions put in place since the outbreak of the global crisis. The accumulation of trade restrictions is now a matter of concern. The trade coverage of the restrictive measures put in place since October 2008, excluding those that were terminated, is estimated to be almost 3% of world merchandise trade, and almost 4% of G-20 trade.
The accumulation of trade restrictions is aggravated by the relatively slow pace of removal of existing measures. Out of a total of 802 measures that can be considered as restricting or potentially restricting trade implemented since October 2008, 18% have been eliminated. At the time of the last monitoring report in October 2011, around 19% of the restrictive measures had been removed, which means that the rate of removing restrictive measures is actually slowing down.
Moreover, the accumulation of restrictions has to be considered in a broader perspective where the stock of trade restrictions and distortions that existed before the global crisis struck, such as in agriculture, is still in place. "
I identified the issue close to the inception of my blog.