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.
This Report shows that such a reaction overlooks the fact that many of the largest trading nations have implemented export promotion schemes over the past 12-18 months and that the rebound in world trade has been underwritten by subsidies, cheap access to credit, and tax rebates and exemptions for exporters. These findings highlight that contemporary discrimination against foreign commercial interests need not be commerce-reducing, like the across-the-board tariff increases of the 1930s. The composition of contemporary protectionism is much different from its counterpart in the Great Depression.
This Report also has a regional focus on developments in Latin America. Governments in this region have differed markedly in their resort to protectionism and several country studies shed light on the factors responsible. Detailed reports of each nation's resort to protectionism and harm done by the protectionism of others will further facilitate comparisons within the region.
Release date: 16 September 2010