World Trade Volume Drops by Record-Breaking 12% in 2009

As compared with the previous year in 2009 the world trade volume dropped by 12%. Such a fall in the world trade turnover has been an extreme since 1945.


It was a simultaneous decrease of the consumer demand in all the leading world economies that was the main reason for the trade slackening. However, the reduction of the trade turnover was assisted, though to a smaller extent, by the rise in state duties, internal subsidies as well as by adoption of additional antidumping measures. According to the data of the European Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), fr om November 2008 till the end of 2009 the governments of different countries introduced 280 protectionist measures, of which 121 are in the G20 countries, which decided to impede protectionism.

It should be noted that according to CEPR it is Russia that is the absolute leader according to the number of the protectionist measures adopted during the crisis. Its share accounts for 20 most harmful, in CEPR opinion, protectionist measures. The second place is occupied by Germany, which adopted 15 measures, the third is divided between India and Indonesia –10 measures each. Italy, Spain and the Great Britain occupy the fourth place with 9 measures each1.

In fact, the Government of the Russian Federation during 2009 adopted more than 60 decrees correcting import tariff of the Russian Federation. The customs duty rate were not only raised, but also reduced for a considerable number of goods and this primarily applies to the import duty rates on high-tech equipment. Out of 600 trading positions, for which import customs duty rates were changed in 2009, for 350 positions the rates were increased.

When the duties were in fact increased, they concerned vulnerable Russian branches of economy and goods, wh ere high import pressure and often that with dumping and subsidies application was registered. Automobile industry, agriculture machine building, ferrous metallurgy, machine tools building are among the main industries to which the measures of customs and tariffs protections were adopted in order to increase the competitive ability.

In the environment of the crisis and, as a consequence, there are large stocks of finished goods in many countries and many producers were ready to sell them in other countries even at lower prices. That is why the measures of the RF Government were forced and protective. Nevertheless, on the whole in 2009 as compared with the last year average weighted import duty in Russia also reduced: in 2008 it was equal to 11.45%, in 2009 – 10.7%.

The analysis conducted by the IET demonstrated that for a number of trading positions the adopted measures played a certain role in protection of domestic producers, however, it is difficult to speak of particular results of some since there is no recovery of the demand for the corresponding goods.

In regard to the Russian goods, in 2009 the trading partners initiated 4 antidumping investigations, 5 reconsiderations of the antidumping measures introduced earlier, as well as 10 special protective measures. As on December 31, 2009 95 limiting measures adopted by foreign states towards Russian goods, including 41 antidumping measures, 7 special protective measures and 47 measures of non-tariff regulation of trade, including the measures of administrative regulation2. Maximum number of limiting measures is now in effect in Belorussia (24), the EU (17), Ukraine (13) and the USA (11). More than a half of all antidumping measures introduced were aimed against the export of Russian ferrous metals and goods thereof. The second place is occupied by mineral fertilizers and chemicals. 

N. P. Volovik – Head of the Department of Foreign Trade


2 Statistics of the RF Ministry for the economic development.