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 key findings of this Report are:

  • The protectionist juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down. The harm compounds quarter-by-quarter. Conservative estimates put the number of harmful measures implemented so far this year at roughly 70 per quarter. Now almost every nation has been harmed by another's beggar-thy-neighbor policy. Fewer than 5 percent of product categories have escaped being hit by some type of protectionist measure.
  • Even worse, governments are already planning another 134 protectionist measures - the equivalent to half a year's protectionism at current rates.
  • The full scale of the G20's failure to keep its no-protectionist Pledge is now apparent. Conservatively estimated, 121 beggar-thy-neighbor measures have been implemented by G20 governments since last November. Every three days a G20 government has broken their no-protectionist pledge.

Despite all the talk about measures to bolster green industries, innovation, and future growth poles of the economy, outside of the financial sector the bulk of protectionist measures affect sectors such as agriculture and smokestack, lower-productivity manufacturing.
Differences in the forms of protectionism used now and in the 1930s make exact comparisons difficult. While there is some comfort that the scale of current protectionism is surely less than that of the 1930s, with the alarming amount of protectionism in the pipeline and growing pressure on politicians from rising unemployment, only the most cavalier observer could dismiss the harm being done to exports and its possible contribution to economy recovery.

Release date: 18 September 2009