WTO Trade Monitoring Ten Years on Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead

A decade has passed since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. Less than a month after the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, an internal Secretariat Task Force was established by the WTO Director-General to monitor the trade related developments associated with the global financial crisis.

When G20 Leaders met in London in early 2009 they mandated the WTO, together with other international bodies, to monitor and report publicly on the G20 adherence to resisting protectionism and promoting global trade and investment. Ten years of trade monitoring later, and notwithstanding widespread anti-trade rhetoric, a protectionist backlash has not materialized. Although there have been worrying increases in the application of certain trade restrictive policy measures, the overall reality has been less alarmist. The paper will provide an introduction to the WTO trade monitoring exercise. It will show how the idea and the principles behind the current trade monitoring effort have origins that go back considerably further than the financial crisis. The paper will also provide an overview of selected trends and developments identified by the monitoring exercise since 2009. Finally, the paper will address some of the challenges facing the WTO monitoring exercise as it enters its tenth year.

No: ERSD-2018-07

Authors: Peter Pedersen, Antonia Diakantoni, Carlos Perez del Castillo, Amaliia Mkhitarian

Manuscript date: 20 April 2018

Key Words:

trade monitoring; protectionism; trade restrictions; trade facilitation

JEL classification numbers:

F13; F14; F61

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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of its author. They are not intended to represent the positions or opinions of the WTO or its members and are without prejudice to members' rights and obligations under the WTO. Any errors are attributable to the author.

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