Latest News

What Restraint? Five Years of G20 Pledges on Trade

For the past five years, leaders of the G20 countries have said they would not implement new trade restrictions, WTO-inconsistent export subsidies, or export taxes and quotas. They also promised to "roll back" any crisis-era protectionism that was imposed. Drawing upon nearly 3,800 separate reports of trade-related government measures collected and published by the Global Trade Alert team, this Report contains the most up-to-date and comprehensive assessment of adherence to the G20's "standstill" on protectionism. At a time when the World Trade Organization is in the doldrums, the performance of this non-binding alternative to intergovernmental cooperation on commercial policies takes on greater significance.

This report may be of interest to government officials, scholars, analysts, media experts, and students interested in how the governments of the world's largest economies have mixed trade liberalisation and beggar-thy-neighbour policies as the Great Recession has unfolded. The report contains six new measures of the resort to protectionism and the propensity to unwind it, computed and reported for each G20 member. Such measures, which can be tracked over time, will add to the transparency of the world trading system.

Download the report here.


1. Executive Summary

Part One: Benchmarking the G20’s Resort to Protectionism and Trade Liberalisation 

Charts for each G20 Member 

Maps for each G20 Member 

Part Two: Five Years of Crisis-Era Protectionsim

2. The Global Landscape of Protectionism Five Years On 

3. The Efficacy of the G20’s Commitments on Protectionism – in the G20’s own words

4. The Evolution of G20 Commercial Policies During Five Years of Standstill Pledges

5 Reporting Lags and Assessing the Resort to Protectionism 

Part Three: The G20’s Resort to Protectionism – Country Tables

Simon Evenett

Date Published: 3 Sep 2013

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA14.pdf (6,334 KB)

Not Just Victims: Latin America and Crisis-Era Protectionism - The 13th GTA Report

The global economic crisis that began to unfold in 2007 hit Latin America hard, slowing down economic growth considerably. The 13th Report from Global Trade Alert shows that Latin America has not just been a victim of protectionism imposed by other parts of the world, as some policymakers and commentators assert.

Drawing upon the most extensive contemporary data set on crisis-era policy responses, the Global Trade Alert, this volume shows that many Latin American governments – in particular, Argentina and Brazil – have taken numerous, occasionally creative steps to tilt the playing field in favour of domestic firms.

This volume documents those steps and discusses their rationale and whether these changes presage a marked shift in Latin American development strategy. As such, it will be of interest to policymakers, officials in national governments and international institutions, university researchers and trade policy analysts, and those interested in Latin American development.

Download the report here.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Crisis-Era Protectionism in Latin America in Context
Simon J. Evenett

Section One: Studies of Protectionism in Latin America

2. Crisis-Era Protectionism in Latin America
Eduardo Bianchi

3. Policies and Instruments Employed By Argentina and Brazil
Carolina Szpak and Diana Tussie

4. Textiles and Footwear in Argentina
Carolina Szpak

5. Rationales for Crisis-Era Protectionism: The Cases of Argentina and Brazil
Eduardo Bianchi and Welber Barral

6. Is there a New Protectionism in Latin America?
Eduardo Bianchi

Section Two: Country-Specific Information on the Incidence of Protectionism in Latin America

Simon Evenett

Date Published: 22 Jul 2013

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA13.pdf (4,657 KB)

Protectionism's Quiet Return: GTA's Pre-G8 Summit Report

Given that the current holder of this year’s G8 Presidency, the UK, has made combatting protectionism a priority, the 12th GTA report has been compiled and released just before the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, on 17-18 June 2013. Concerns about protectionism are not confined to the UK, however. In April 2013, when introducing reduced forecasts for world trade growth, the Director-General of the WTO, Mr. Pascal Lamy, warned that the protectionist threat may be greater now than at any time since the onset of the global economic crisis. On the basis of the evidence presented here, Mr Lamy’s concerns were well founded.
Building on a massive update of Global Trade Alert that saw 904 new entries added to the GTA database which now comprises 3,334 reports on government measures, this report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of protectionist and trade-liberalising dynamics.
Download the report here.

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary
2. Maps of the Countries Harmed by each G8 Member
3. The Landscape of Crisis-Era Protectionism before the 2013 G8 Summit
4. The G8 and Crisis-Era Protectionism: Country Tables

Simon Evenett

Date Published: 12 Jun 2013

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA12.pdf (4,600 KB)

Financial Times cites GTA data in call for vigilance against protectionism

On 11 April 2013 the Financial Times published an editorial highlighting the dangers of rising protectionism. This followed a start warning on the same matter from the WTO's Director-General. In its editorial the Financial Times mentioned the findings of the last report of the Global Trade Alert.

Brazil's Finance Minister uses GTA data to refute allegations of protectionism

In a speech in London on 21 September 2012 and in newspaper interviews the Brazilian Finance Minister has used Global Trade Alert data to refute claims that Brazil has engaged in protectionism. As a result of inquiries from the press, this notice contains the latest information on worldwide rankings of protectionism using the four metrics assembled by the Global Trade Alert. Readers impatient for the findings can skip the next paragraph, which explains what data was assembled here.

The Global Trade Alert collects data on policies implemented and announced by 233 jurisdictions. Since November 2008, the start of our monitoring, approximately 2,500 reports on policies that could affect international commerce have been posted on this website. Jurisdictions differ in their resort to protectionism and to help users compare across them the Global Trade Alert reports four summary statistics, the first concerning the frequency of resort to protectionism and the other three concern the likely impact or incidence of that protectionism. Specifically, the GTA includes (a) a count of the total number of government measures that have been implemented since November 2008 and almost certainly discriminate against foreign commercial interests (the measures classifed red in the GTA database), (b) the total number of product categories directly affected by the almost certainly discriminatory measures implemented by a jurisdiction, (c) the total number of domestic economic sectors benefiting from the almost certainly discriminatory measures implemented by a jurisdiction, and (d) a conservative estimate of the total number of trading partners directly affected by the almost certainly discriminatory measures implemented by a jurisdiction.

How does Brazil perform on these four metrics? The graphic above (which can be downloaded) shows that Brazil has implemented 56 protectionist measures since November 2008. Only 8 other jurisdictions have resorted to protectionism more often. The three measures of protectionism put Brazil in rank 14 through 25 in the world. On conservative estimates, Brazil's protectionism has harmed 132 trading partners. One hundred and ninety-two of the 233 jurisdictions monitored have better records on protectionism than Brazil on all four criteria reported by the Global Trade Alert. Overall, then, Brazil has sinned, many countries more have sinned far less and a few have sinned more.

For further information on what measures--both liberalising and protectionist--that Brazil has undertaken please go to the following page and select Brazil as an implementing jurisdiction:

For further information on how foreign protectionism has harmed Brazil's commercial interests, please go to the following page and select Brazil as an affected jurisdiction

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about this data and its potential implications for policymaking.

Simon J. Evenett,
Coordinator, Global Trade Alert
Professor of International Trade and Economic Development, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
22 September 2012

World Bank report says Argentina is the world’s top protectionist

The GTA's findings on Argentinian trade policy have been cited in a number of media reports. Many of these articles incorrectly assert that the GTA is run by the World Bank. The GTA is an independent trade monitoring initiative. World Bank support for this initiative has been appreciated but it was always recognised that the GTA's independence was paramout and, like every other sponsor of the GTA, the World Bank has kept at arms length and not commented on, or seek to influence, the implementation of the GTA.



The Return of the Protectionist Illusion

Trade barriers once again threaten the global economy, and the U.S. isn't helping.
To read the full article, press here


World Economy: Riding the Double-Dipper

Capitalist leaders are in disarray as they strive and fail to get to grips with the eurozone crisis and its threat to the global economy. Neither the G20 summit in Mexico, nor crisis talks in Rome offered any solutions, as politicians and economists desperately try to hang on to the eurozone roller-coaster. To read the full article, click here.