The Strategist

WTO: G20 countries lifted half of restrictive measures

06/29/2021 - 04:04

G20 countries continue to roll back measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Subhashish Panigrahi
Subhashish Panigrahi
By May this year, 49% of the restrictions had been lifted, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) report. The organisation estimated the value of trade-restrictive measures at $135.7 billion.

It also reported that the coverage of trade facilitation measures implemented since the beginning of the pandemic was estimated at $215.7 billion. As of mid-May 2021, about 22% of such measures ceased to operate.

"Trade restrictions hamper our efforts to increase production, especially in developing countries, and to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. Vaccine policy is trade policy and we must do all we can to prevent a repeat of a pandemic that could seriously undermine the global economic recovery," the report quotes WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In November 2020, the WTO calculated the effect of temporary measures imposed in response to the pandemic. The figures were almost balanced: easing measures affected imports by $155 billion, restricting measures by $111 billion. 

In all, 63% of the 133 such measures were aimed at reducing barriers. However, three of the ten measures that restricted supplies (e.g. bans on exports of masks and other medical products) had already been lifted by mid-October.