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Protectionism Surges to Worst Since Crisis as G-8 Nears

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June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Global trade protectionism has surged to its highest since the financial crisis began in a threat to economic growth, according to Global Trade Alert.

Four-hundred-thirty-one new protectionist measures were imposed from June 2012 to this month compared with 141 steps taken to liberalize commerce, said GTA, which was created in 2009 by University of St. Gallen professor Simon Evenett in Switzerland. Another 183 practices aimed at restricting trade are in the pipeline.

With trade on the agenda for the upcoming U.K. meeting of Group of Eight leaders, the report said such nations were responsible for almost a third of protectionist measures over the past year.

“G-8 countries have a massive stake in preserving an open trading system,” said Evenett in a statement. “Each protectionist measure is a termite eating away at one route to economic recovery.”

Leaders from Russia, Germany, France, the U.S., Japan, Italy and Canada will join U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron at the Lough Erne resort in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland for the conference of G-8 leaders on June 17-18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Kennedy in London at skennedy4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net