Simon Evenett, 13 June 2013

Commentators increasingly talk about the steady rise of protectionism. This column presents evidence from the newest Global Trade Alert report to suggest that they’re right: the past twelve months have seen a quiet, artful, wide-ranging assault on free trade. Little of this has showed up in traditional monitoring. Protectionism in Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 far exceeds anything seen since the onset of the global financial crisis.

Dirk Schoenmaker, 18 April 2013

International banking is under threat in the aftermath of the Global Crisis Supervisors across the world are pushing for a split of international banks into national subsidiaries. This column discusses ‘financial protectionism’, offering some governance solutions that may help to international banks. These solutions boil down to burden sharing. In Europe, the first step is banking union.

Chad Bown, Meredith Crowley, 08 February 2013

For most of the postwar period, rich nations had much lower average tariffs than developing nations, but they frequently applied variable protection – dumping duties etc. – in reaction to business cycles and exchange-rate movements. Massive, unilateral tariff-cutting by developing nations since the 1990s evened out the averages. This column presents new evidence that emerging economies are now tying variable protection more closely to business cycles and exchange rates – just like the high-income economies.

Hylke Vandenbussche, Jozef Konings, 30 January 2013

The rise of international production sharing – ‘global value chains’ – has transformed international commerce and pushed economists into new territory. This column argues that there is evidence to suggest that old-fashioned protection can have an unexpected negative effect on firms that are part of a global value chain. In an increasingly globalised world, exporters’ success seems to positively depend on the free entry of imports rather than the other way round.

Laura Alfaro, Paola Conconi, Harald Fadinger, Patrick Legros, Andrew Newman, 02 December 2012

Increasingly, people are pointing the finger of blame for economic woe at large firms. This column argues that organisation design is often affected by government trade policy. If firm organisation design has implications for consumer welfare (in terms of prices and quality of product), evidence suggests that governments should make sure that in future, trade policy and corporate governance policy are more complementary.

José De Sousa, Thierry Mayer, Soledad Zignago, 20 November 2012

Do trade costs still matter in a modern era characterised by a fall in transaction costs? This column argues that there is a dearth of good analysis in the debate around market access difficulties. Complaining about restrictions in accessing foreign markets is political leaders’ current favourite hobby yet. In light of stalled WTO negotiations, shouldn’t rigour, not rhetoric, lead this debate?

J. Bradford Jensen, 19 November 2012

Should developed countries fear trade in services? Won’t high skilled jobs be lost to cheaper, developing country service workers? This column argues that trade in services represents a profitable opportunity as long as international trade in services is liberalised. The US and other developed countries should aggressively pursue fairer and thus more favourable terms under the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement.

Chad Bown, 18 August 2012

Is protectionism getting better or worse? This column analyses recent World Bank data from 24 major economies suggesting that import protection through temporary trade barriers – such as antidumping, safeguards, and countervailing duties – has increased considerably for a handful of mostly emerging markets in the past year. But the news is not all bad – some countries have lowered their trade barriers.

Marc Bacchetta, Cosimo Beverelli, 31 July 2012

The WTO and its predecessor the GATT have been remarkably successful in negotiating down tariffs over the past six decades. But trade is still a long way from free and since the global crisis, it is becoming even less so. This column reviews the facts, economics, and motives behind these new non-tariff barriers and discusses the challenges they pose for the WTO.

Simon Evenett, 20 July 2012

Simon Evenett of the University of St Gallen talks to Viv Davies about the recent increase of protectionist measures in the world trading system. They also discuss the implications of the rise in regional trade agreements, the potential effects of Russia joining the WTO and the impact of slow growth in Europe on the region’s trade with the rest of the world. Evenett maintains that defenders of the world trading system should do more to prevent the current subordination of trade policy. The interview was recorded by telephone on 17 July 2012.

Chad Bown, Meredith Crowley, 14 July 2012

Antidumping tends to get no respect from economists. Many view the most popular import restriction among industrialised and middle-income economies today as politically-biased protectionism hiding behind the rhetoric of fair trade. This column challenges long-held perceptions by reinterpreting antidumping import restrictions as the grease that keeps the wheels of the liberal world trading system turning.

Gregory Corcos, Massimo Del Gatto, Giordano Mion, Gianmarco Ottaviano, 10 July 2012

As protectionist pressures mount worldwide, it is important to continue to shore up the case for open trade policy. This column presents new evidence from Europe on an old gain from trade – the weeding out effect – namely the way increased cross-border competition selects and favours the most productive firms. It argues that this mechanism brings about large gains.

Simon Evenett, 14 June 2012

The 11th GTA report provides a detailed account of the resort to beggar-thy-neighbour policies from the first crisis-era G20 summit in November 2008 until May 2012. The findings suggest that international restraints on contemporary protectionism are pretty weak and that if the battle against protectionism is to be won it must be fought in national capitals.

Charles Roxburgh, Richard Dobbs, Jan Mischke, 31 May 2012

Are emerging markets a threat to jobs and competitiveness for the industrialised countries? This column argues that such concerns are often based on myths. Armed with the facts, policymakers in mature economies should focus on the opportunities emerging markets present rather than viewing them as a threat.

Nadia Rocha, Paolo Giordani, Michele Ruta, 09 May 2012

International food prices are on the rise and becoming increasing volatile, reaching crisis levels in recent years. This column argues that one overlooked reason for this is the rise in protectionist policies aimed at restricting food exports.

Chad Bown, Meredith Crowley, 28 April 2012

As the global economy entered a crisis not seen since the Great Depression, many feared a return of 1930s-style protectionism. This column asks why many countries avoided this fate, focusing on trade policy in the US and EU.

Andrew Rose, 27 April 2012

Conventional wisdom says that when the economy starts to nosedive, the trade barriers start to rise. But this column argues that maybe protectionism isn’t countercyclical after all.

John Van Reenen, 17 February 2012

The Great Recession has beckoned the ominous return of protectionism. While not condoning such policies, this column argues that if governments must provide investment subsidies to domestic firms, there is a much larger bang for their buck if they target small businesses rather than larger ones. Cash-strapped governments should take note.

Simon Evenett, 21 November 2011

The 10th GTA report documents several factors that together imply that the protectionist threat to the world trading system is probably as significant as it was in the first half of 2009, when such concerns were last at their peak.

Simon Evenett, 25 November 2011

Simon Evenett talks to Viv Davies about the 10th Global Trade Alert report, which concludes that the protectionist threat to the world trading system is as significant now as it was in early 2009. Evenett suggests that there has been considerable resort to the use of non-tariff barriers and more murky forms of protectionism and that countries continue to circumvent WTO rules. He concludes that policymakers have reason to be seriously concerned and that the world trading system may face its greatest test yet in the year ahead. The interview was recorded on 24 November 2011. [Also read the transcript]

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