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Restrictive measures affect world food prices – WTO

Brussels, Dec 7 (Prensa Latina) Recent and old restrictions to international trade contribute to the volatility in current food prices, amid a tense and uncertain economic scenario, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Thursday.

In general terms, goods trade value subject to trade facilitation measures far exceeded the one affected by the new limitations implemented from mid-October 2022 to the same date in 2023, the WTO added.

However, WTO acknowledged that the constant export restrictions contributes to the volatility of food prices in a global economic environment subject to multiple crises.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Thursday welcomed the introduction of facilitation measures by member countries and also urged them to revoke recent limitations on food exports, as well as the accumulated arsenal of long-standing restrictive measures.

She also called for collective work to strengthen the multilateral trading system and deliver results at the organization’s next Ministerial Conference (MC13) early 2024.

The practical initiatives adopted recently to facilitate imports show how to reduce trade barriers and delays, and are a valuable tool for counteracting inflationary pressures, she said.

In contrast, she opined, the pace of implementation of export barriers has been increasing since 2020, first for medical products in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and then for food, feed and fertilizer with the Ukraine conflict.

The number of new export restrictions (51% of the total) exceeded those on imports (48%), the WTO explained.


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