The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has called on G20 governments to do more to address the growing impact of protectionism on the global economy.

The ICC G20 Business Scorecard assesses the response of the G20 to recommendations put forward by the international business community and, in this fourth edition, reports that governments have done a “poor” job in implementing their commitment to roll back trade-restrictive measures introduced since the financial crisis.

Commenting on the launch of the Scorecard, ICC chairman and co-chair of the B20 Trade Task Force Terry McGraw says: “There is a paradox right now at the heart of trade policymaking. On the one hand, we’ve got possibly the most robust negotiating agenda in two decades – with a range of deals on the table that, with the right political leadership, could provide a major stimulus to the global economy.

“But at the same time, we are seeing governments subtly employing regulatory measures – or non-tariff barriers – to restrict international trade. While the G20 deserves great credit for holding the worst protectionist excesses in check, action is needed now to curb the steady drip feed of measures which we have seen since the financial crisis.”

The latest Scorecard examines a total of 28 business priorities put forward during the 2014 Australian presidency and rates the G20’s responsiveness across seven policy areas: trade, investment and infrastructure, financing growth, human capital, anti-corruption, energy and environment and global tax reform.

Protectionism is one of the issues being rated as part of the G20’s score on trade. The others are: “implement the WTO trade facilitation agreement” (for which it received a “good” score; “ensure PTAs realise better business outcomes” (scoring “fair”); and “develop country-specific supply chain strategies (no score). The overall business assessment of G20 commitments and decisions is “fair”, says the Scorecard. This is a dip from last year’s “good” score, but an improvement over the first and second Scorecards, where G20 trade received “poor” scores. “This result demonstrates an overall positive trend in the G20’s recognition of business priorities on trade since the ICC’s monitoring began,” says the report.

It continues: “Robust trade policies – supported by an open, rules-based, transparent and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system embodied by the WTO – are the best guarantee to deliver strong and sustainable growth. Business is therefore pleased that Prime Minister Abbott made trade a prominent item on the G20 agenda throughout Australia’s presidency.

“The Brisbane Summit declaration and action plan rightfully recognised trade as a key driver of economic growth, improved living standards and job creation. Business was particularly pleased that the G20 rallied support for a strong multilateral trading system, including the focus on WTO rules and their historic role in delivering economic prosperity.”