External Expansion Limited

Monday, 23 June 2014


The past June 18, 2014, UNCTAD, WTO and OECD, have issued a joint report about trade and investment measures referred by the G-20 at their last summit meeting in St. Petersburg-Russia 5-6 September 2013, where the leaders made a strong statement of commitment to free trade and investment as a crucial element to restoring global growth. At that meeting, mainly recognized the continuous risk of economic slowdown and weakening of trade due to persistent protectionist pressures worldwide, committing to roll back from that time. The analysis reports that in this article we discuss cover trade and investment elapsed between mid-November 2013 to mid May 2014 noting that little have advanced in the commitment made at the meeting.

The report exposed refer to the compromise that G-20 took on that meeting with free trade and investment as crucial pillars to restore global growth thus giving great importance to the multilateral trading system guaranteeing free trade and investment, basing on fundamental rules that promote economic opportunities for economic growth, sustainable development and job creation worldwide. The member countries of the G20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia Federation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union. It is a group clearly composed by developed and developing countries.

Before the recognition of protectionist measures which cause a continuing slowdown in the global economy, trade and investment weaken, G-20 governments have extended until the end of 2016 their standstill commitment to status quo with respect to these protectionist measures. To do this, put in place only 112 new trade restrictive measures during the analysis period of this report, with 4 being less than 116 imposed in the previous period from mid-May to mid-November 2013. Therefore, we believe shameful to comment as good and relevant this data beacuse it denotes low or no commitment to reduce restrictions having committed themeselves to the contrary.

In detail, 0.3% of G-20 merchandise imports or 0.2% of world merchandise imports were affected by these measures. Furthermore, point out that the number of trade restrictive measures imposed by the G-20 in the period under review have exceeded the number of liberalizing measures, however the liberalizing measures taken during this period were significantly higher than in the previous period, both in absolute and in relative terms. We wonder who are they kidding commenting these data as positive, while 1185 trade restrictive measures have been recorded since October 2008, only 251 of these have been withdrawn until mid-May 2014, staying current 934, and in turn recognized in this report that further measures are still creating and accumulating unreasonably.

The vast majority of the liberalizing measures of imports consist in the temporary reduction or elimination of import tariffs. The export measures are considered to quantitatively restrict exports, in some cases prohibiting the export of certain minerals and vegetables; and in other cases incorporating new export duties or administrative registration procedures to be followed by exporters of certain agricultural products, rare earth, leather and metal. They also reveal a series of data that countries eroding international trade through new anti-dumping investigations, that for the period under review have been higher, falling 78% of new anti-dumping investigation on metals, chemicals and plastics. Brazil was the main country who began most investigations in the period analised, but stand out among the most developed countries of the group, United States as a major protectionist.

Among Investment Specific Measures include the authorisations of foreign currency accounts, the relaxation of conditions for forming joint ventures with foreigners, relaxation of foreign investment inflows and tightening of restrictions in various industries. Among Investment Measures Related to National Security include the inward foreign investments related to energy supply activities (electricity, gas, hydrocarbons or other energy sources); water supply; transport networks and services; electronic communications networks and services; facilities for defense; and protection of public health. It applies to safeguarding national interests in the area of public order, public security and national defense. Among International Investment Agreements include bilateral investment treaties (BITs) Germany being the largest country treaties made in the period. Both OECD and UNCTAD to monitoring the governments interventions in investment processes be seen as being strictly focused on legitimate public policy objectives (eg, protection of national security) and not as cover for hidden protectionism being evident for us that in more than one case turn a blind eye.

They have also highlighted that the financial markets of trade has gone through several periods of stress in recent years, especially during the global financial crisis of 2008 in the context of deleveraging of bank balance sheets in the euro area and given the systemic importance of the availability of financing of world trade have pointed out the difficulties faced by developing countries in accessing trade finance, particularly the smaller and / or poorer, and even small and medium enterprises in countries larger or developed. Meanwhile the ECB should announce the promotion of a market for securitized loans in Europe to allow SMEs access loans through purchases of such asset-backed securities.

Actually, this recognized international institutions talk about the disadvantages as discussed in our articles "
Disadvantages of international trade" or "Unraveling the ins and outs of international trade" because if we look at the particular measures applied in the analyzed period described measures such as currency devaluation, export restrictions for the benefit of a particular sector of the country that applies and the initiation of anti-dumping investigations that preclude certain imports for a particular time clearly protecting its domestic market.

In conclusion, we believe that much remains to be done and move forward, much more if these institutions report data by masking reality because restrictive measures are maintained at the same levels (a reduction of 4 is insignificant) and because restrictive measures are superior to liberalizing measures though they want to downplay it because these have grown over the previous period. Don´t be fooled us because if we look at the measures applied are always in favor of the particular interests of the stronger countries, implying a continuing social and economic inequality increasingly between developed and developing countries perpetrated in time.

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Until the next article...

Leonardo Dufau 

Attached links to the complete and original reports:

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