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: http://www.globaltradealert.org/site-statistics

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 http://www.globaltradealert.org/site-statistics

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

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