Global Tariffs Surge Ahead of Trump-Xi Talks at G-20, Study Says

(Bloomberg) -- Tariff measures imposed by Group of 20 countries reached a record and now cover $481 billion worth of global trade, according to the World Trade Organization.

Ahead of U.S.-Chinese talks at next week’s G-20 summit, the group’s member countries added 40 trade-restricting measures since mid-May, compared with 39 during the preceding six months, the WTO said in a report published Thursday.

“Further escalation remains a real threat,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a statement. “If we continue along the current course, the economic risks will increase, with potential effects for growth, jobs and consumer prices around the world.”

Read about the U.S.-China trade war: What Has Happened and What’s Next

After a year marked by trade conflict, Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping plan to hold talks during the Nov. 30-Dec.1 G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has played down the likelihood of a grand bargain and said the U.S. still plans to increase tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports on Jan. 1.

The Trump administration also is mulling tariffs on autos and auto parts, which could prompt retaliation that would further degrade global growth projections. European Union officials say U.S. levies on EU cars or auto parts on national security grounds would void a trans-Atlantic commercial truce.

The Geneva-based WTO defines trade-restrictive measures as new or increased tariffs, customs regulations and rules-of-origin restrictions.

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