Geneva, Switzerland (BBN) – The number of investigations into the practice of dumping, or exporting a product at an unfairly low price, surged in the first half of this year, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported on Monday.

The amount of new measures deployed by countries to protect their industries from dumping also increased between January and the end of June this year, the WTO said in a press statement.

Some 16 members of WTO initiated 85 new investigations in the first six months of this year, compared to 61 investigations in the corresponding period last year – a 39 per cent jump, the organization noted.

The statistics were released at a time of mounting international concern and tension – particularly from senior United Nations officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – about the so-called Doha round of trade liberalization talks, which have stalled.

Dumping occurs when a manufacturer in one country exports a product to another at a price either below the price it charges in the home country or below its cost of production.

The most investigations were into alleged dumping of products in the base metal sector (21 initiations), followed by textiles (20 initiations) and chemicals (10 initiations), the WTO said.

Turkey recorded the highest number of initiations, with 13, followed by the United States, India, Argentina, the European Communities, Brazil, Australia and Colombia, according to the statement.

China was the most frequent subject of new investigations, with 37 – or nearly half the entire total – directed at its exports. Thailand was the subject of seven investigations, and the European Communities and Indonesia were each the subject of five.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-21October08-9:35 AM (BST)