The Strategist

WTO Director General recommends G20 countries lift trade restrictions

07/05/2023 - 03:06

In order to lessen price volatility, G20 nations should work toward easing export restrictions, particularly for goods like food, feed, and fertilizer, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), commented on the release of a WTO report on current trade restrictions on Tuesday.

World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
"It is encouraging that G20 nations have taken extra measures to make imports easier, illustrating that trade can be used as a tool to combat inflationary pressures. In order to help lessen the price volatility that makes life tough for people all over the world, I encourage them to continue to exercise leadership by reducing the number and extent of trade restrictions on exports, particularly on food, feed, and fertilizers," said Okonjo-Iweala.

As "their initiative and leadership will be critical to achieve results between now and the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference," she advised the G20 to "exercise restraint in implementing trade restrictive measures" and encourage "open and mutually beneficial trade." 

According to the WTO report, the G20 countries "adopted many more trade facilitating measures than trade restricting measures" between mid-October 2022 and mid-may 2023 — 77 and 41, respectively. Restrictive measures are now anticipated to cost $88 billion, down from the WTO report's November 2016 value of $160.1 billion. The letter stated that a number of export restrictions on food, feed, and fertilizers were still in effect, endangering the predictable flow of food across international markets and causing price volatility at a time when food availability remained a key worldwide concern.