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. 

An assessment of global commercial policy dynamics is supplemented by in-depth examination of the changing market access faced by exporters from the G20 nations including China and the United States, the European Union, and key groups of developing countries, such as the African Union and the Least Developed Countries. Evidence on the scale of protectionism and trade liberalisation affecting seven leading sectors of the world economy is presented as well, two of which important sources of export income for the Least Developed Countries. 

The overall goal of this report is to provide analysts, corporate executives, the media, officials in national governments and international organisations, as well as policymakers with the most thorough assessment of trade policymaking three years after the resurgence of populism and nationalism. The recently announced “phase one” deal between China and the United States is interpreted in light of the worldwide developments in commercial policy reported here.