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Trade measures

The WTO Trade Monitoring Exercise is a factual, non-legal exercise that provides transparency regarding new trade and trade policy related measures. Two Trade Monitoring Reports are circulated every year, in July and December, allowing WTO Members to undertake an interactive peer review at the WTO Headquarters. The Reports are developed in close cooperation with WTO Members and cover trade measures implemented in the areas of goods, services and intellectual property. They also provide up-to date accounts on other issues, including trade remedies, SPS, TBT and agriculture.

Measures on Goods

WTO Members have implemented various trade and trade-related measures on goods recorded by the trade monitoring exercise since October 2008. Measures on goods cover measures that facilitate or restrict trade on goods and also initiations of trade remedy investigations and terminations of trade remedy actions. Almost all such measures appear to have been taken within the flexibilities provided for in the multilateral trading system.

Measures in Services

WTO Members have introduced several trade in services measures that have been captured by the trade monitoring exercise since October 2015, some horizontal in nature and some affecting specific services sectors. While most of these measures have provide for additional liberalization or otherwise facilitated services trade, a number of them appeared to be trade restrictive.

Intellectual Property Measures

WTO Members implemented a variety of measures to modernize their intellectual property (IP) regimes and streamline IP and trade in knowledge into their economies. Intellectual property measures have been captured by the trade monitoring exercise since October 2015.

COVID-19 and world trade

The COVID-19 and world trade webpage provides information on COVID-19 measures implemented by WTO Members and Observers related to trade in goods, services and intellectual property. It also includes support measures, implemented in response to the COVID-19 and communicated by WTO Members and Observers to the Secretariat. This information has been compiled by the WTO Secretariat and is an informal situation report and an attempt to provide transparency with respect to measures taken in the context of the pandemic. These lists of measures are not exhaustive and are updated regularly by the WTO Secretariat.

Highlights from last report

discussed by the WTO Members on 29/07/2021

The Director-General’s latest mid-year report on trade-related developments that covers the period between mid-October 2020 and mid-May 2021, was presented to WTO Members on 29 July 2021. The Report suggests that trade policy restraint by WTO Members has prevented a destructive acceleration of protectionist trade measures that would have further harmed the world economy.

Recent reports

Full trade recovery at risk without equitable vaccine roll-out

WTO Members from mid-October 2020 to mid-May 2021 exercised trade policy restraint and refrained from an acceleration of protectionism that would have further harmed a world economy reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Director-General’s mid-year report on trade-related developments presented to members on 29 July. The report calls on WTO members to ensure that markets remain open and predictable, and warns that failing to ensure wider access to COVID-19 vaccines could undermine the global economic and trade recovery.

The report shows a marked decline in trade restrictions by WTO members amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

The Director-General’s latest annual overview of trade-related developments shows a marked slowdown in the number of trade-restrictive and trade-facilitating measures adopted by WTO members related to goods trade over the past year. The report, presented at a 11 December meeting of the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB), notes the decrease observed in regular measures between mid-October 2019 and mid-October 2020 was mainly the result of the sharp decline in overall global trade since the COVID-19 outbreak. The document at the same time provides information about the numerous trade-facilitating and support measures introduced by WTO economies in response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure a solid economic recovery.

Goods measures

Last reporting period: 16/10/2020 - 15/05/2021

Next reporting period: 15/05/2021 - 15/10/2021