Following the outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis, WTO members tasked the WTO Secretariat with the mission to prepare regular updates on the latest trends in the implementation of new trade and trade-related measures and on important developments in trade policy-making. Launched in early 2009, the trade monitoring exercise successfully continues to this day, having delivered 23 WTO-wide and 20 G20 trade monitoring reports over the past decade.
"For 10 years now, the trade monitoring exercise has provided WTO members with regular and up-to-date reports on the latest trends and developments in the implementation of new trade measures. It is an important exercise in fostering greater transparency and predictability in trade policy, which is vital for our members as well as for businesses around the world," said Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the WTO's trade monitoring.
He continued: "The WTO trade monitoring exercise continues to evolve and strengthen, taking into account changes in the international trading environment and the contributions of all WTO members and observers."
The reports, undertaken under the mandate of the Trade Policy Review Mechanism, have evolved considerably over the years to encompass the changing nature of trade policies implemented by WTO members and the international trading environment more generally. The trade monitoring exercise and its reports represent an important tool to track the latest trends in the implementation of a broad range of policy measures that facilitate, and restrict, trade flows.
The WTO trade monitoring reports are developed in close cooperation with WTO members. The WTO-wide reports are discussed in the Trade Policy Review Body twice a year, in July and December, providing members with an interactive and non-legal peer-review platform. First and foremost, the monitoring exercise is about providing additional and up-to-date transparency. It is intended to be factual and with no legal effect on the rights and obligations of WTO members. Moreover, it is without prejudice to members' negotiating positions and has no legal implication with respect to the conformity of any measure noted in the report with any WTO Agreement or any provision thereof.
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