The Global Trade Alert (GTA) was launched in June 2009 when it was feared that the global financial crisis would lead governments to adopt widespread 1930s-style beggar-thy-neighbour policies.

Although global in scope, the GTA has given particular attention to the policy choices of the G-20 governments ever since their leaders made a “no protectionism” pledge in Washington DC in November 2008.

Although initially conceived as a trade policy monitoring initiative, as thousands of policy announcements have been documented, the GTA has become a widely-used input for analysis and decision-making by firms, industry associations, journalists, researchers, international organisations, and governments.

This reflects the fact that, as the International Monetary Fund noted in 2016, the GTA “has the most comprehensive coverage of all types of trade-discriminatory and trade liberalizing measures.”

For further information about the data collection methods of the Global Trade Alert see section 3 of this paper and pages 17-19 of this report. In recent years each GTA report has contained a chapter “What’s new in the Global Trade Alert database?” where updates on data collection methods, presentation of results, and sources are provided.




Brazen Unilateralism: The US-China Tariff War in Perspective

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz

The polite fiction of G20 compliance with its protectionist pledge became untenable with the implementation of the Trump Administration’s America First policy. The ongoing Sino-US tariff war is a consequence and casts a pall over this year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit. The meeting expected between Presidents Trump and Xi may indicate whether trade frictions deteriorate further. Rather than speculate this report puts the Sino-US tariff war in perspective, assessing the scale and impact of American brazen unilateralism. We matched up detailed data on trade policy changes worldwide with monthly trade data, drew upon insights from 17 recent analyses of contemporary trade wars, and extracted lessons for today’s trade turmoil from the 1980s and 1990s US approach of Aggressive Unilateralism towards its trading partners. Read more

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