March 27 G20 leaders pledged at their November
summit to fight protectionism, yet 18 of their economies are
named in a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report on measures
taken in recent months that could be seen as restricting trade.
The report, published on March 26, includes bailouts and
stimulus packages to support industries such as carmaking. The
only G20 countries not listed are Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
Here are some recent measures that have raised complaints of
* ARGENTINA - Imposed non-automatic licensing requirements
on products such as auto parts, textiles, TVs, toys, shoes, and
* AUSTRALIA - Last December Australia marshalled local banks
to provide funding worth about A$2 billion ($1.3 billion) to
enable car dealers to find long-term finance after a decision by
car-loan providers GMAC and General Electric Co to exit the local
* BRAZIL - Said in November it had instructed state-run
Banco do Brasil to make available a total of 4 billion reals
($1.72 billion) so that automakers' financing units could
increase lending and spur sales.
* BRITAIN - Britain announced in January it would guarantee
up to 2.3 billion pounds ($3.29 billion) of loans to the car
- The EU's internal markets commissioner has said some
European countries were "very upset" about sterling's recent
losses, which makes British exports more competitive on price.
* CANADA - Unveiled an aid package on Dec. 20 that provided
C$4 billion ($3.28 billion) in emergency loans to the Canadian
arms of General Motors (GM.N) and Chrysler to keep them
* CHINA - Frequent target of complaints that it blocks
access to its markets or gives unfair help to exporters,
including by keeping its yuan currency weak. A meeting of G7
finance ministers in Rome praised Beijing for allowing some
appreciation of the yuan but maintained calls for the process to
- China has put in place an import ban on Irish pork, as
well as some Belgian chocolate, Italian brandy, British sauce,
Dutch eggs and Spanish dairy products.
- On Mar. 19 China rejected a $2.4 billion bid by Coca-Cola
(KO.N) for China's top juice maker, Huiyuan Juice (1886.HK),
blocking what would have been the largest-ever takeover of a
Chinese company by a foreign rival. The Ministry of Commerce
made the ruling on grounds that the merger would have been bad
- Increased rebates under the duty drawback system for
* EUROPEAN UNION - Imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese
screws, fasteners, candles and steel wire products.
- Reinstated export subsidies on dairy produce.
- Imposed steep anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on
imports of biodiesel from the United States.
* FRANCE - Pledged loans of 6 billion euros ($7.6 billion)
to struggling car makers PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA) and
Renault (RENA.PA) (3 billion euros each) in return for what has
been characterised as an unwritten pledge not to close
facilities in France. The European Commission has said it is
satisfied the guarantees do not amount to protectionism.
* GERMANY - Unveiled a 1.5 billion euro aid package for its
carmakers on Jan. 13. The package forms part of a 50 billion
euro stimulus package of investments, tax relief and support for
companies. Measures include incentives worth 2,500 euros for new
* INDIA - Initiated anti-dumping investigations on some
imported steel products affecting 19 countries. It also banned
imports of Chinese toys for six months, saying it was in the
interest of public safety.
- Increased rebates under the duty drawback system for
* INDONESIA - Limited the number of ports and airports
serving as entry points for certain imports, such as
electronics, garments, toys, footwear, and food and beverages.
* ITALY - Unveiled a $1.7 billion package for its car
industry. Carmakers in turn have been told to maintain their
plants in Italy and pay auto parts suppliers.
* JAPAN - Introduced special safeguard measures on imports
of certain foods prepared with flour or starch and konnyaku
* MEXICO - Angered by Washington's move to block Mexican
trucks from using U.S. highways, Mexico said this week it would
raise tariffs on 90 American agricultural and manufactured
products, about $2.4 billion worth of exports from 40 U.S.
* RUSSIA - Raised duties on imports of used cars to prop up
its struggling domestic industry.
- Set a new seasonal import tariff on rice of 160 euros
($202.4) per tonne from Feb. 15 to May 15, 2009 to protect
- Banned imports of pork from several U.S. facilities that
do not meet technical standards.
* SOUTH KOREA -- Announced on March 26 plans to cut
purchasing and registration taxes by 70 percent from May to
December for customers buying new cars to replace old ones
registered before 2000. The move includes measures to provide
liquidity to auto financing firms to spur local car sales.
* TURKEY - Raised tariffs on goods ranging from certain iron
and steel products to grain and dried fruit.
* UNITED STATES - A $787 billion U.S. stimulus package,
signed by President Barack Obama last month, was criticised for
its "Buy American" clause that says firms must use U.S. steel
and other U.S.-made goods.
- The bill provided for a 25 percent competitive margin for
US iron and steel for all expenditures under the bill. Several
governments, including Canada and the EU objected to the
provisions. A final provision also includes language that
requires implementation to be consistent with U.S. trade
- A $17.4 billion lifeline to two Detroit carmakers was
announced on Dec. 19.
- On Feb. 17, GM and Chrysler requested a further $22
billion in U.S. government loans as they submitted plans with
the government on how they could restructure.
- On Mar. 26, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said his
department was in discussions with other U.S. agencies on
whether it was appropriate to revive dairy export subsidies as a
response to U.S. surpluses.
- U.S. spending bill bars food safety inspectors from
letting in poultry products from China.
Countries outside the G20 named as taking restrictive
* ECUADOR - Raised tariffs on about 630 products including
butter, turkey, crackers, caramels, blenders, cell phones,
eyeglasses, sailboats, building materials and transport
equipment and imposed import quotas on others to protect balance
* MALAYSIA - In January Malaysia banned the hiring of
foreign workers in factories, stores and restaurants to protect
its citizens from mass unemployment.
* SPAIN - Approved a 4 billion euro ($5.17 billion) package
to support its ailing car industry. The support would depend
upon carmakers' ability to guarantee jobs and would not grant
aid to any company that has laid off workers permanently without
first reaching agreements with unions.
* UKRAINE - Import duty surcharge of 13 percent on imports
except for critical goods to help balance of payments.
Sources: Reuters; tradeobservatory.org; BusinessEurope;
(Reporting by Reuters G20 bureaus and Editorial Reference Unit;
Editing by Ruth Pitchford)