The Tide Turns? Trade, Protectionism, and Slowing Global Growth

Simon Evenett, Johannes Fritz 12 November 2015



Recent perspectives on protectionism and global trade 4

Executive summary 7

Why the global trade slowdown matters 8

Falling global trade: The facts 12

Did policy target the products that account for much of the fall in world trade? 16

Beggar-thy-neighbour activity in 2015 18

Protectionism since the Great Recession: The three phases 20

Which G20 nations distort commerce most often? 22

Which countries have been hit the most and by whom? 24

Which tradeable sectors have been hit the most? 26

Which policy instruments have been used the most? 28

How significant are trade defence actions? 30

How much do official reports understate protectionism? 32

What’s new in the Global Trade Alert database? 34

What is the Global Trade Alert? 35

Acknowledgements 35

Professor of International Trade, University of St. Gallen; Research Fellow, CEPR

Max Schmidheiny Foundation Research Fellow, University of St Gallen


  • 17 - 18 August 2019 / Peking University, Beijing / Chinese University of Hong Kong – Tsinghua University Joint Research Center for Chinese Economy, the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development at Stanford University, the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, BREAD, NBER and CEPR
  • 19 - 20 August 2019 / Vienna, Palais Coburg / WU Research Institute for Capital Markets (ISK)
  • 29 - 30 August 2019 / Galatina, Italy /
  • 4 - 5 September 2019 / Roma Eventi, Congress Center, Pontificia Università Gregoriana Piazza della Pilotta, 4, Rome, Italy / European Center of Sustainable Development , CIT University
  • 9 - 14 September 2019 / Guildford, Surrey, UK / The University of Surrey

CEPR Policy Research