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G-20 nations pledge to boost trade despite protectionism

Staff Writer |
The world's top 20 economies will work to boost sluggish global trade despite growing protectionism, overcapacity concerns, and uncertainty over Brexit, G-20 trade ministers said Sunday at a meeting in Shanghai.

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"The global recovery continues, but it remains uneven and falls short of our ambition for strong, sustainable and balanced growth. Downside risks and vulnerabilities persist," the trade ministers said in a joint statement, adding that trade should remain "an important engine" to spur global growth.

The G-20 nations, which account for 85 percent of global trade, admitted that protectionism has been rising since the financial crisis, and said that new trade restrictions in the group had reached the highest monthly average registered since the WTO began monitoring in 2009.

"We note with concern that despite the G-20's repeated pledge, the stock of restrictive measure affecting trade in goods and services has continued to rise," they said in the statement.

They pledged to oppose trade protectionism and reiterated a promise not to add new protective measures until 2018.

Global trade is expected to grow 2.8 percent in 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in April.

And this year is expected to be the fifth in a row where trade grew at less than three percent — its weakest sustained level in 30 years, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said ahead of the talks.

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