Data released by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday showed that 42 actions were initiated by the world’s richest 20 countries during the first half of 2022, compared with 91 during January-June 2021. During this period, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) moved on far fewer cases – eight in the first half of this year as against 25 a year ago, representing a decline of 68%.
On a sequential basis, there was a pickup in the number of cases initiated by India – from five during July-December 2021 to eight during January-June 2022 – although there was a 32% decline for G20.
In recent years, the revenue department has refused to notify several measures recommended by DGTR, housed in the commerce department, arguing that anti-dumping duties are not always justified as it increases the cost of production of the final product.
The WTO report noted that globally trade remedy measures, such as anti-dumping, safeguard action or countervailing action, taken by G20 countries have come down, while export restrictions, especially on food, have increased in the wake of the pandemic and the Ukraine war.
Against 19.1 average monthly trade remedy actions by these countries between mid-October 2021 and mid-May 2022, there was 12.4 a month during mid-May 2022 to mid-October 2022. In contrast, trade-restrictive measures went up from an average of 8.3 a month to 9.4 a month.
While the US and the EU have attacked India for export restrictions on wheat and rice in the wake of the Ukraine war, an analysis by WTO showed that 26 member countries and five observers deployed 72 trade-restrictive measures, of which 66 applied to food & feed (90%) and six were targeted at fertiliser exports (10%). “As of mid-October 2022, 20 of these export restrictions had been phased out, bringing the number of restrictions in force to 529, of which 23 were export restrictions maintained by G20,” the report said.