Highlights from last report

discussed by the WTO Members on 25 July 2016

  • The stock of trade restrictions introduced by WTO Members since 2008 continues to rise.

  • Of the 2,835 trade restrictive measures introduced since October 2008, only 708 (25%) have been removed by mid-May 2016 while the remaining 2,127 are still in place. The overall stockpile grew by 11% during the review period. Members introduced 154 new trade-restrictive measures during the period between mid-October 2015 to mid-May 2016 (22 new measures per month) and another 132 new trade-facilitating measures (19 new measures per month).

  • WTO Members initiated a higher number of trade remedy investigations per month during this review period compared to the previous period. The overwhelming majority of these were anti-dumping measures.

  • General economic support measures implemented by WTO Members are on the rise. A monthly average of 14 such measures were recorded for this review period, thus confirming an upward trend since the end of 2013 and edging closer to the highest monthly average of such measures recorded immediately after the onset of the global financial crisis. (These measures are not included in the database, but can be found in Annex 4 of the report.)

  • Several significant policy developments in a diverse range of services sectors took place during the review period. The overwhelming majority of these services measures see either further liberalization of trade in services or the strengthening and clarification of relevant regulatory requirements. (These measures are not included in the database, but can be found in Annex 5 of the report.)

  • World trade remained volatile in 2015. Diverging outlooks for developed and developing economies continued to unsettle global financial markets and prompted sharp movements in commodity prices and exchange rates. The volume of world merchandise trade grew 2.8% last year as trade fell sharply in the first half of the year before recovering in the second half. Prospects for world trade for 2016 and beyond remain uncertain. The most recent WTO trade forecast of 7 April 2016 predicted merchandise trade volume growth of 2.8% in 2016, at a rate unchanged from 2015. The global economic environment remains challenging and continued vigilance is required.

  • In the midst of this uncertainty, the Director-General called on WTO Members, individually and collectively, to resist protectionist pressures and he emphasized that a strong multilateral trading system was the best safeguard against protectionism.

Key findings from last report

Executive summary from last report and from previous report

The database provides information on trade measures implemented by WTO members and observers since October 2008. The data is taken from the regular Trade Monitoring Reports prepared by the WTO Secretariat. All information is submitted to the relevant delegation for confirmation; information that it is not confirmed is clearly indicated in the database. The database is updated every time a new report has been discussed by WTO members.

Last update: 25 July 2016
Next update expected by end December 2016

Trade monitoring