The World Trade Organization's latest monitoring report on Group of 20 (G20) trade measures has highlighted that new import-restrictive measures hit a new high.
The WTO report found a total of 40 new trade-restrictive measures were applied by G20 economies during the review period from mid-May to mid-October, including tariff increases, import bans and export duties, Xinhua reported.
This represents an average of eight restrictive measures per month, which is higher than the almost six measures recorded during the previous review period (mid-October 2017 to mid-May 2018), said the WTO report.
"This report provides a first factual insight into the trade-restrictive measures which have been introduced over recent months, and which now cover over $480 billion worth of trade," said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Thursday.
"The report's findings should be of serious concern for G20 governments and the whole international community," he said.
The WTO chief warned that further escalation remains a real threat.
"If we continue along the current course, the economic risks will increase, with potential effects for growth, jobs and consumer prices around the world," said Azevedo.
He said the WTO is doing all it can to support efforts to de-escalate the situation, but noted that finding solutions will require leadership from the G20.
The WTO report found that G20 economies also implemented 33 new measures aimed at facilitating trade during the review period, including eliminating or reducing import tariffs and export duties. At close to seven trade-facilitating measures per month, this is in line with the 2012-17 trend.
In addition, liberalization associated with the 2015 expansion of the WTO's Information Technology Agreement (ITA) continued to feature as an important contributor to trade facilitation, said the WTO.