A sharply rising number of attempts to block imports has led to a much smaller increase in actual tariffs and affected only a limited share of global trade, according to World Bank research.
The latest results from the Global Antidumping Database, a monitoring service sponsored by the bank, show the number of new official investigations into imposing so-called “trade remedies” – emergency blocks on imports – rising sharply in the third quarter of 2009. Investigations are opened at the behest of domestic producers seeking relief from cheap imports.
世界银行资助的监督服务——全球反倾销数据库(Global Antidumping Database)的最新研究结果显示，2009年第三季度，各国为实施所谓的“贸易救济措施”（对进口实施紧急限制）而新展开的正式调查数量急剧增加。调查是应本土制造商的要求而展开的，这些制造商试图减轻廉价进口商品的冲击。
The political salience of import curbs has risen recently after US President Barack Obama provoked a hailstorm of criticism by imposing so-called “safeguard” restrictions on Chinese tyres.
But separate research by the bank suggests that the rise in trade barriers has so far affected only a small part of global commerce. New remedies proposed between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 covered just 0.4 per cent of the value of imports to the US and the EU. Even the investigations started by China and India, two of the heaviest users of trade remedies, would affect at most 0.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively of their imports.
The figures suggest that despite a flurry of actual and proposed emergency blocks on imports – in defiance of promises by the Group of 20 leading economies to eschew protectionist actions – the restrictions are having little effect on trade.
After starting an investigation into whether imports are being dumped, illicitly subsidised or are simply flooding in at a rate that threatens domestic industry, governments typically impose full restrictions on imports 12-18 months later. The 44 new investigations in the third quarter, a 53 per cent increase on the same quarter in 2008, would normally suggest a wave of restrictions to come next year.
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