Africa resists the protectionist temptation: The fifth Global Trade Alert report

Simon Evenett, 27 May 2010



With the return to economic growth of many industrialised economies in either late 2009 or the first half of 2010, combined with sustained expansions in the emerging market economies, came the hope that protectionist pressures would ease in the world economy through 2010. If anything, the period since our last report was published in January 2010, has been one of the busiest for the Global Trade Alert team.

Nothing short of a mountain of evidence has been uncovered in recent months concerning state measures announced after the start of our reporting window, November 2008. A total of 247 new reports on implemented or announced and pending state measures have been added to the Global Trade Alert database since our last report was published, expanding the total number of reports to 960. This 40 percent expansion in the GTA's database provides for a more comprehensive assessment of contemporary protectionism and, as this Report makes clear, some of our previous findings have been revised.

Like our two previous reports, the fifth Report also has a regional focus. This time our focus is on Sub-Saharan Africa, whose development significance is evident. What may be less well known is that Sub-Saharan African governments have not resorted to protectionism on the scale of industrialised countries and some developing country peers during the recent global economic downturn. Sub-Saharan Africa is also the recipient of preferential access to the markets of many industrialised countries. This Report contains two papers on the likely reforms to the United States and European Union trade preference regimes and their potential implications for Sub-Saharan Africa. These papers will also be of interest to those following the West's policies towards Sub-Saharan Africa.

This report can be downloaded at

Vox Talks with Simon Evenett

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Simon Evenett of the University of St Gallen talks to Viv Davies about the fifth Global Trade Alert (GTA) report. They discuss why the EU – in contrast to Africa, which has resisted protectionist temptations – is now in the top five ‘offending nations’ on all of the GTA criteria. Evenett also answers recent criticisms that GTA has been ‘over-alarmist’ in its analysis of protectionist measures implemented by governments since the onset of the financial crisis. The interview was recorded in June 2010.


Topics:  Global crisis International trade

Tags:  Africa, protectionism, GTA


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