Global trade frictions severe in 2020: Report

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Global trade frictions were severe last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and also the consequent economic decline, said a report from China’s trade promotion body.

The global economic and trade measures index, introduced by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, was on the rise in 2020, said the report released by the council’s legal advisory committee on economic and trade frictions, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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It looked into trade frictions in 20 countries and regions, including the United States, China, and Japan, and trade-measure usages such as import and export duties, trade remedies, and technical barriers.

Competition between major economies was increasing, the report said, citing the sub-indexes for countries and regions such as India, the US, the UK, and the European Union. Competition in these countries remained high in the reporting period.

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Meanwhile, trade frictions between other countries were relatively mild, it said.

In 2020, 20 countries and regions imposed 3,497 trade measures, 46.8 per cent of which were technical barriers.

The US topped the ranking of the most frequent user of trade measures. It launched 624 trade actions throughout the year, accounting for 17.8 per cent of the total.

Zhang Yuejiao, director of the legal advisory committee, said the global economic recession in the wake of Covid-19 impacted global supply and industrial chains.

“History has proven that a sluggish economy is a major cause behind the rise of trade protectionism,” said Zhang, also a law professor with Tsinghua University.

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