As many of you know well, the recent economic downturn saw a rise in the use of protectionist trade measures in many parts of the world. While much of the increase is attributable to a down economic cycle, there are other causes as well; some of which persist even in better economic times.
To that end, I thought that you might find a recent report by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Trade on potentially-restrictive trade measures to be of interest. The report (available here) identifies more than 150 new trade measures put in place by EU trading partners (including the United States) over the period May 2012-May 2013. The report notes that these potentially restrictive measures can take many forms, including increases in duty rates, new import licensing requirements, use of reference or minimum import prices for customs duty purposes, new domestic origin requirements in the government procurement context, export stimulus/subsidy, increased technical regulations, etc. It also notes that these measures are increasingly being used by emerging economies such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Russia, China, South Africa and Ukraine to protect domestic industries (which the report believes undercuts their development in the long run). The report is worth a quick read for anyone who is responsible for getting product into or out of multiple jurisdictions on a compliant basis (or who is otherwise interested in world trade).
Our global customs compliance group has a great deal of experience dealing with the types of measures mentioned in this report. If you have any questions about the evolving requirements in one the jurisdictions discussed in the report, or otherwise, please let us know.