The Global Trade Alert publishes brief reports twice a year. Every GTA report focuses on a new and current topic in international commerce. It presents original research on the topic as well as summaries of the latest updates to the GTA database. To facilitate their targeted reading, the GTA reports are divided into a dozen short chapters with 2-4 pages each.

Industrial Subsidies As a Major Policy Response Since the Global Financial Crises: Consequences and Remedies

Peter Draper, Andreas Freytag, Henry Gao, Naoise McDonagh & Simon J. Evenett | 14 Sep 2020

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is at an impasse regarding the resolution of tensions surrounding the issue of subsidies. The weak implementation and surveillance of WTO disciplines is attributable to the lack of notifications by WTO members. Currently, major members are developing plurilateral initiatives to deal with the perceived unfair application of subsidies, which leads to market distortions, overcapacity, and unfair competition. Are these steps an attempt at broad reform or a self-serving agenda aimed at certain other members? This policy brief explores the major issues around subsidies, and identifies a plurilateral path forward if a broad—than member-targeted—reform agenda is to be followed. It proposes procedural steps that the Group of Twenty (G20) members can follow to address the subsidies problem and, thus, provides a set of substantive options to guide the proposed deliberations.

A Global Trade Alert analysis for the Commonwealth Secretariat

Exports at Risk from Non-Tariff Measures: The Experience of Commonwealth Countries

Simon J. Evenett | 12 Aug 2020

This study breaks new ground by combining three substantial databases of commercial policy change over the past decade to compute the shares of Commonwealth exports at risk from adverse policy changes and reforms by trading partners. The calculations undertaken for this study use the finest-grain trade data available globally, and the conservative methods employed imply that the resulting estimates almost certainly understate the scale of the threat to living standards. The study demonstrates that larger shares of Commonwealth member countries’ exports have been exposed to changes in other policies, undertaken by their trading partners, that have tilted the commercial playing field towards favoured, local firms.

A Global Trade Alert analysis for the VDMA

Impediments to German Mechanical Engineering Exports

Simon J. Evenett | 12 Aug 2020

This analysis identifies where foreign trade distortions put at risk significant shares of the exports of the German mechanical engineering sector. Although initiated before the COVID-19 pandemic, by focusing on the policies holding back German mechanical engineering exports at the beginning of 2020, this study provides a benchmark against which pandemic-era policies affecting trade can be judged. This study goes beyond traditional import restrictions, such as tariffs and anti-dumping duties and takes account of subsidies to import-competing firms, export incentives provided by foreign governments to their firms selling into third markets, as well as new regulations that may become barriers to trade. Estimates of the percentage of German mechanical engineering exports facing each of these policies in every foreign trading partner have been calculated too.

A Joint European University Institute, Global Trade Alert & World Bank Initiative

21st Century Tracking of Pandemic-Era Trade Policies in Food and Medical Products

EUI, GTA and World Bank | 04 May 2020

The purpose of this initiative is to collect information on changes in trade policy towards exports and imports of medical and food products so as to document the cumulative resort to trade policies since the beginning of 2020. Information on such policy changes are processed, collated, and shared with the European University Institute and the World Bank on a weekly basis. Maps summarising some of the features of the cumulative policy response are prepared as well. The maps, underlying information, and a methodology note can be downloaded in the winzip file provided.

A VoxEU eBook

COVID-19 and Trade Policy: Why Turning Inward Won’t Work

Richard E. Baldwin & Simon J. Evenett | 29 Apr 2020

World trade will soon collapse largely as a result of governments’ battle against the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conventional wisdom has it that economic recessions are the handmaiden of protectionism. Should governments turn inward and further weaken cross-border commercial ties? The contributors to this eBook assess pandemic-era trade policy developments, reference precedent cases, and provide an unequivocal answer: No.

A Trade Bargain to Secure Supplies of Medical Goods

Preparing for a Second Wave of COVID-19

Simon J. Evenett & L. Alan Winters | 27 Apr 2020

The recent free-for-all witnessed in trade policymaking on medical goods has had an unintended consequence—paradoxically, it may have laid the foundations for a bargain between importing and exporting nations. In this paper, Simon Evenett and Alan Winters describe the underlying commercial logic of this bargain, its elements, and their WTO compatibility. Critically, the bargain does not require global participation or endless trade talks. Done right there would be a market penalty for manufacturers in exporting nations whose governments choose to free ride on this arrangement. The paper also discusses this proposal in relation to other recent joint trade policy initiatives in this critical area of world trade.

Tackling COVID-19 Together

Simon J. Evenett | 23 Mar 2020

The past fortnight has witnessed a sharp increase in zero-sum, unilateral trade policy acts as governments scramble for medical supplies and equipment. During a pandemic such zero-sum behaviour risks inflicting an unconscionable human toll, as a case study on medical ventilators in this note makes clear. Rather than dwell exclusively on negative developments in this note, the case is also made for a bottom-up, cooperative trade policy initiative in which governments working together can exploit scale and ensure that trade policy does not diminish the payoff from public health interventions.

The Trade Policy Dimension

Tackling Coronavirus

Simon J. Evenett | 11 Mar 2020

Protective medical equipment (such as masks), medicines, disinfectant, and soap are needed to tackle the Coronavirus. Many countries source these medical supplies from abroad and so trade policy stance becomes part of national policy responses to the Coronavirus. Using information on policy developments through to 10 March 2020, this note presents a global picture on the resort to export and import restrictions on these much needed medical supplies. The likely effects of these restrictions are discussed along with their coherence with the medical responses to the Coronavirus. The note describes how trade policy can make a positive contribution to this important societal threat and five specific policy recommendations are advanced.

The 25th Global Trade Alert Report

Going It Alone? Trade policy after Three Years of Populism

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 22 Dec 2019

The populist and nationalist turn in many nations’ politics has sharpened the rhetoric towards globalisation. But did this translate into changes on the ground in trade, investment, and migration policies? This report examines whether a worldwide shift away from the level commercial playing field is underway or whether turns inward are localised. Unlike many reports by international organisations, which tend to focus on six-month reporting cycles, the evaluation here covers the entire, recent Populist era.

The 24th Global Trade Alert Report

Jaw Jaw not War War: Prioritising WTO Reform Options

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 12 Jun 2019

G20 Leaders are due to discuss options to revive the moribund WTO at the upcoming Osaka Summit. The purpose of this Global Trade Alert report is to identify WTO reform options that directly address the first-order problems that have built up over the past decade. Our approach ties prescription to diagnosis.

Article in the Journal of International Business Policy

Protectionism, state discrimination, and international business since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis

Simon J. Evenett | 01 Mar 2019

The manner and extent of state discrimination against international business since the start of the Global Financial Crisis is documented and interpreted. Without resorting to 1930s-style across-the-board tariff increases, governments have tilted the playing field in favor of local firms so often since November 2008 that 70% of the world’s goods exports competed against crisis-era trade distortions by 2013. Export mercantilism and other forms of selective subsidization are persistent features of crisis-era policy response. Available evidence also casts doubt on the notion that foreign direct investments have been treated as well as successive World Investment Reports contend.


Brazen Unilateralism: The US-China Tariff War in Perspective

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 29 Nov 2018

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.


Going Spare: Steel, Excess Capacity, and Protectionism

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 03 May 2018

During the past year some of America’s trading partners have sought to rein in Washington’s unilateral protectionist instincts by framing the woes of the trading system in terms of global excess capacity—essentially diplomatic code for Chinese excess capacity in manufactures. The joint EU, Japanese, and US statement pledging cooperation on such matters at last December’s WTO Ministerial Conference was an important milestone in this co-option strategy. In light of the threatened imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium products on widely-derided national security grounds, this report examines whether America’s trading partners should double down on this particular strategy. To do so, we evaluate whether excess capacity in manufactured goods is a systemic threat to the world trading system.

The impact of crisis-era trade distortions on exports from the European Union

Europe Fettered

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 12 Dec 2017

Having grown in real terms by 60% between 2000 to 2008, extra-EU exports have since stagnated. Stripping out other determinants of EU export growth, the focus here is on the impact of trade distortions imposed by foreign governments since the global economic crisis began. Our econometric analysis implies that crisis-era trade distortions held back EU Member State export growth to destinations outside of the EU by between 10-20 percentage points between 2008 and 2014. We estimate that the EU export growth deficit compared to China (amounting to on average 35 percentage points from 2008 to 2014) would have been halved in the absence of foreign trade distortions.

The 21st Global Trade Alert Report

Will Awe Trump Rules?

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 04 Jul 2017

Not since the London Summit of in April 2009 has protectionism had such a high profile in the run-up to a G20 Leader’s Summit. President Trump’s America First policies have drawn sharp criticism from leaders of other G20 governments. Accusations and counter-accusations of unfair trading practices have become a regular occurrence. So as to shed light on competing claims, this Global Trade Alert report documents the actions taken by G20 governments through to the end of June 2017.

The 20th Global Trade Alert Report

FDI Recovers?

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 30 Aug 2016

As global trade continues to stagnate, the spotlight has shifted during China’s G20 Presidency to foreign direct investment (FDI).Two recent developments have brought FDI to the forefront of international policy deliberations. First, at their annual meeting in July 2016, G20 trade ministers endorsed nine G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking. Second, in June 2016 UNCTAD published its flagship annual World Investment Report showing that FDI flows “soared” in 2015 to its highest level since the onset of the global economic crisis. This report – released in advance of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou, China – critically evaluates the recovery of FDI, the G20’s contribution to that recovery, the coherence of G20 trade and investment policymaking to date, and ultimately, the new G20 Guiding Principles.

The 19th Global Trade Alert Report

Global Trade Plateaus

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 13 Jul 2016

This report demonstrates that talk of a global trade slowdown is misplaced. Since January 2015 world trade volumes have plateaued, which is unusual as pauses in trade growth are typically associated with global recessions. A global trade plateau is a major source of concern as it is likely to add to the temptation of governments to engage in zero-sum commercial policies that seek to steal market share from foreign rivals.

The 18th Global Trade Alert Report

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

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 12 Nov 2015

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 17th GTA report

BRICS Trade Strategy: Time for a Rethink

Simon J. Evenett | 07 Jul 2015

The term BRICS was coined by Jim O’Neill from Goldman Sachs over a decade ago. Unlike many acronyms, this one has stuck - largely because of the growing share of the world economy associated with the emerging economic powers Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa (the latter being added somewhat later.) With the greater global footprint, the policy choices of these countries matter more.

How Foreign Trade Distortions Slowed LDC Export-Led Growth

Throwing Sand In the Wheels

Simon J. Evenett & Johannes Fritz | 17 Jun 2015

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.

The 16th Global Trade Alert Report

The Global Trade Disorder

Simon J. Evenett | 12 Nov 2014

Based on a massive data collection effort since the St. Petersburg G20 summit last September, in which a further 2,001 trade-related state initiatives have been documented, this report demonstrates that the resort to protectionism has been substantially higher than previously thought.

The 15th Global Trade Alert Report

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

Simon J. Evenett | 22 Jul 2014

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.

The 14th Global Trade Alert Report

What Restraint? Five Years of G20 Pledges on Trade

Simon J. Evenett | 03 Sep 2013

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.

The 13th Global Trade Alert Report

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

Simon J. Evenett | 22 Jul 2013

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.

The 12th Global Trade Alert Report

Protectionism's Quiet Return

Simon J. Evenett | 12 Jun 2013

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.

The 11th Global Trade Alert Report


Simon J. Evenett | 14 Jun 2012

The 11th Global Trade Alert report on protectionism--assembled by an independent team of trade policy analysts from around the world--provides a detailed account of the resort to beggar-thy-neighbour policies from the first crisis-era G20 summit in November 2008 until May 2012.

The 10th Global Trade Alert Report

Trade Tensions Mount

Simon J. Evenett | 21 Nov 2011

The threats to an open trading system mounted in the second half of 2011 for several reasons.

The 9th Global Trade Alert Report

Resolve Falters As Global Prospects Worsen

Simon J. Evenett | 20 Jul 2011

In 2011 the world economy has been buffeted by a number of developments that were not foreseen at the time of the Seoul G20 Summit. These unanticipated, adverse macroeconomic developments now coincide with election cycles and political leadership transition cycles in a number of jurisdictions, increasing the risk that some political leaders will court short-term popularity by resorting to protectionism. Moreover, now that many governments are cutting government budgets and interest rates cannot fall much further in many countries, restricting foreign competition is one of the few tools available to policymakers when responding to pleas from domestic firms and trade unions. The sooner global economic growth recovers its previous pace the better. One welcome side effect would be taking the some of the wind out of the protectionist sails.

The 8th Global Trade Alert Report

Tensions Contained... For Now

Simon J. Evenett | 08 Nov 2010

Although the dispute over China's exchange rate regime intensified in the run-up to the Seoul G20 Summit, pressures for across-the-board protectionist measures have been contained, for now. The latest data on protectionism, summarised in this Report, show that the countries with large current account surpluses have not been targeted unduly in recent months.

The 7th Global Trade Alert Report

Managed Exports and the Recovery of World Trade

Simon J. Evenett | 16 Sep 2010

The Seventh Report of the Global Trade Alert, drawing upon over 1200 investigations of state measures, reveals that while 2010 has seen a substantial recovery in world trade, governments have continued to discriminate against foreign commercial interests. Moreover, recovery does not seem to have affected the rate at which governments resort to protectionist measures. One reaction to this finding is to argue that the discrimination cannot be that significant if world trade is recovering so quickly.

The 6th Global Trade Alert Report

Unequal Compliance

Simon J. Evenett | 23 Jun 2010

This Report of the Global Trade Alert, published to coincide with the Toronto G-20 Leaders' Summit in June 2010, presents a comprehensive global overview of protectionist trends since the last G-20 summit in September 2009. It draws upon a substantial expansion in the evidence collected by the GTA team during 2010 on the measures announced and implemented by governments since November 2008.

The 5th Global Trade Alert Report

Africa Resists the Protectionist Temptation

Simon J. 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.

The 4th Global Trade Alert Report

Will Stabilisation Limit Protectionism?

Simon J. Evenett | 15 Feb 2010

After the tumult of the first half of 2009 many economies stabilised and some even began to recover in the last quarter of 2009. Using information compiled through to late January 2010, this the fourth report of the Global Trade Alert examines whether macroeconomic stabilisation has altered governments resort to protectionism.

The 3rd Global Trade Alert Report

The Unrelenting Pressure of Protectionism

Simon J. Evenett | 07 Dec 2009

At a time when more commentators are becoming cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2010, this Report from Global Trade Alert presents the latest data on the protectionist dynamics at work since the first G20 crisis-related Summit in November 2008 and highlights the many anti-trade measures that are in the pipeline.

The 2nd Global Trade Alert Report

Broken Promises

Simon J. Evenett | 18 Sep 2009

The second GTA report, prepared by an independent group of researchers and analysts located around the globe, is based on over 400 investigations of state measures that have been implemented since the first crisis-related G20 meeting in November 2008.

The First GTA Report

Simon J. Evenett | 09 Jul 2009

Global Trade Alert, first launched on 8 June 2009, has been in operation for a month. Experts from every region of the world are now contributing to this initiative. However, rather than rush to judgement about the implications for foreign commercial interests of the state measures taken since the first crisis-related G20 meeting last November, this GTA report describes our findings to date and explains the procedures GTA follows. In doing so the GTA’s value-added and complementarity with existing monitoring initiatives will be established.