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India next to US in anti-dumping measures
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March 09, 2009 19:06 IST

With protectionism emerging as a major threat to the global trade flow, data compiled by World Bank shows that India is next only to the US in terms of new anti-dumping measures imposed by their respective governments.

Besides, the number of such measures increased substantially in the second half of 2008 in both countries,

World Bank has said in its background paper for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting later this week in the United Kingdom.

The US imposed over 20 new anti-dumping measures during the July-December period in 2008, followed by 15 such measures by the Indian authorities.

As per the data compiled by the multilateral lending agency, India took more than 10 fresh anti-dumping measures in the first half of 2008 -- higher than any other country during that period -- while the US imposed less than five such measures.

Other countries where new anti-dumping measures are on the rise include Brazil and Canada, while European Union, South Korea and Egypt saw the number of such initiatives declining in the second half of 2008.

China, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina had imposed some fresh measures in the first half, but no additional steps were announced in the second half. In contrast, Australia and Turkey did not impose any new anti-dumping measures in the first half of 2008, but some steps were announced in the last six months of the year.

"Protectionism remains a serious threat in the current environment. Many countries are contemplating, or have already implemented, increased protection, which may be difficult to reverse and will slow the recovery," the World Bank said.

According to the World Bank, since the beginning of the financial crisis, roughly 78 trade measures have been proposed or implemented, of which 66 involved trade restrictions.

"Of these, 47 measures were actually implemented, including 17 by the G20. In addition, anti-dumping claims and actions increased 20 per cent in 2008 relative to 2007; and 55 per cent in the second half of 2008 relative to the first half of 2008," it added.

The World Bank pointed out that agricultural subsidies, "not counted in these numbers", have increased automatically with the recent fall in commodity prices.

"In addition to changes in tariffs, non-tariff barriers, such as licensing requirements and tighter application of product standards, are also being introduced.

"Governments are also taking measures to support specific industries through potentially trade distorting measures, including by increasing subsidies as part of fiscal stimulus packages," the paper said.

Further, the multilateral lending agency noted that while government's financial support packages do not necessarily distort trade, "public intervention targeted at specific export-oriented industries or competing import industries are akin to protectionism and run the risk of starting a subsidy race among nations".

The paper added that there is also a risk that governments providing "bailouts" to domestic banks might exert pressure on those banks to use "those resources within their countries rather than to provide trade finance that would go to foreign countries."

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