As 2020 drew to a close, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported that the number of new trade restrictions being introduced by governments across the world had actually fallen in 2020 compared to 2019. This was partly because the US-China trade deal agreed in January 2020 had helped to ease US-China trade tensions, thereby bringing to an end the tit-for-tat series of trade measures each side had been imposing on the other in 2017 and 2018. In addition, the pandemic-induced collapse of world trade had anyway meant that there was less trade to restrict as governments focused on containing the pandemic and not on trade policy.

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