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

The G20’s principal task of reviving global economic growth has never been easy – it is harder now that world trade is contracting. World trade growth isn’t slowing down – the latest available monthly data compiled for this report suggests that it has been falling in volume and value terms through 2015. On average G20 exports have fallen 4.5% since world trade peaked in value in October 2014.
The 18th report of the Global Trade Alert, published in advance of the G20 Leaders Summit in Antalya, Turkey, uses the latest available data on trade flows and on protectionism:

  • to highlight the extent of falling world trade,
  • to critically evaluate leading explanations for recent global trade dynamics,
  • to demonstrate the marked increase in resort to protectionism in 2015,
  • and to identify plausible policy initiatives that the G20 should pursue during the coming Chinese Presidency.

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz

Date Published: 12 Nov 2015

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA18 The Tide Turns.pdf (5,318 KB)

BRICS Trade Strategy: Time for a Rethink

1. Executive Summary
Part One: Benchmarking the BRICS’ resort to protectionism and trade liberalisation
Charts for each BRICS nation
Maps for each BRICS nation
Part Two: BRICS commercial policy choices and global developments
2. The global landscape of protectionism
3. The commercial policy stance of the BRICS
4. The threat to LDC exports posed by the BRICS
Part Three: Crisis-era policy choice by and affecting the BRICS
Russian Federation
South Africa

Simon Evenett

Date Published: 7 Jul 2015

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA17 - BRICS Trade Strategy.pdf (2,188 KB)

Throwing Sand In the Wheels: How Foreign Trade Distortions Slowed LDC Export-Led Growth

This new eBook argues that least developed countries were hard hit by these barriers. Drawing on Global Trade Alert data, it argues that these barriers reduced these nations’ exports by 30% during the period 2009 to 2013 – over a quarter of a trillion US dollars in total.

Find an elaborated summary for voxEU at

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz

Date Published: 17 Jun 2015

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    Sand in the Wheels.pdf (3,313 KB)

Asian Economic Integration Monitor points to "resurgence of trade impediments"

In its November 2014 edition the Asian Development Bank's Asian Economic Integration Monitor includes an account of what it refers to as the "resurgence of trade impediments." This analysis is based on Global Trade Alert data and neatly distinguishes between conventional and unconventional trade policy measures.

The Economist cites GTA findings in its latest assessment of Globalisation

In the 15 November 2014 edition of The Economist mention was made of the GTA's findngs in that magazine's latest assessment of the state of globalisation. For the article in question see

A summary of the GTA's latest findings can be found at

Financial Times publishes summary of GTA's 16th report

On 12 November 2014 the Financial Times published the following summary of the findings of the GTA's 16th report:

This complements the longer summary found on and available at

Simon Evenett

Date Published: 12 Nov 2014

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA16.pdf (2,611 KB)

GTA Presentation at WTO Public Forum 2014 on protectionism and developing countries

On 1 October 2014 at the WTO Public Forum in Geneva, Simon Evenett gave a presentation on (a) global trends in the resort to beggar-thy-neighbour policies and (b) the frequency with which the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Lower Middle Income Countries (LMICs) have seen their commercial interests harmed by foreign protectionism. This presentation is based upon the latest data from Global Trade Alert and reflects the substantial expansion of that database over the past 12 months. For further details please email

FT blog on why global trade is slowing down, mentions GTA findings

In a guest blog, published on the Financial Times website on 29 August 2013, Eric Lascelles, Chief Economist of RBC Global Asset Management, discussed the factors responsible for slowing growth of world trade since the global economic crisis hit. One of the factors mentioned by Mr Lascelles is protectionism and specific reference was made to the number of protectionist measures imposed by G20 countries, data that was taken from the GTA database.

Mr Lascelles' contribution to the Beyond Brics blog can be found at the following URL:

Beggar-Thy-Poor-Neighbour: Crisis-Era Protectionism and Developing Countries

The most vulnerable trading Nations on Earth - the Least Developed Countries and Countries from Sub-Saharan Africa- have long been encouraged by Western donors, international development Organisations and economists to integrate their economies into world markets.This volume examines the extent to which such integration was frustrated by protectionism measures taking since the onset on Greta Recession.
Drawing upon the data compiled by Global Trade Alert, an independent protectionist monitoring service, the policy stance towards Lesse Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan African Nations- both beggar-thy-neighbour and liberalising - are characterised and their effects analysed by expert knowledgeable about both of these groups of developing countries. Implications for policymaking at the national and international level, including at the G20, are explored.

Download the report here


1. Beggar-Thy-Poor-Neighbour: The incidence of Protectionism in LDCs and Sub-Saharan Africa

Part one: The Impact of Protectionism on Developing Countries

2. Free trade, protectionism and the balance of trade: New empirical insights
3. Trade measures of OECD countries and the decline in exports of African Coutires: is murky protectionism responsible?
4. Protectionist Trade Policy Instruments in the global economic crises: an impact analysis from Africa-EU and Africa-US trade relations
5. SADC Crisis era trade policy and its effect on intra regional trade and investiments
6. The economic crisis and the protection of domestic workers: the case of Foreign Workers Firsts out policy in Malaysia's manufacturing sector.

Part two: Country Specific Data on the Incidence of Crisis- Era Protectionism on the Least Developed Countries and on Africa 

Simon Evenett

Date Published: 22 Jul 2014

Publisher: Centre for Economic Policy Research

Format: PDF

Download E-Book:    GTA15_LDCs2.pdf (1,669 KB)