World has racked up 7000 protectionist measures since crisis: study

he world’s top 60 economies have adopted more than 7,000 protectionist trade measures on a net basis since the financial crisis and tariffs are now worth more than $400 billion, a study of global data showed on Wednesday.

The research, which drew from World Bank, Heritage index and Global Trade Alert figures, also found that the United States and European Union were each responsible for more than 1,000 of the restrictions.

 India was next with over 400 followed by Argentina, Russia and Japan all with between 365 and 275, while only three countries – Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia – had liberalized trade rules on a net basis over the period.

Last year meanwhile saw the highest level of protectionism in percentage terms since 2010, at just over 61 percent of all the trade measures introduced or modified.

“Donald Trump is getting all the headlines at the moment but everybody’s doing it,” said David Lowe, head of international trade at law firm Gowling WLG, which produced the report.

The study, which mostly looked at the eight years before Trump gained power, did not put a severity weighting on the measures it identified that ranged from automotive tariffs to regulations on more unusual products like pet collars.

Nor did it identify sector trends, but it did show the trade relationships between different countries and who was affecting who the most.

For all but nine of the 60 countries where data were suitable, it was the United States that was having the most impact. Russia and China also scored highly due to Russia’s exports of oil and commodities and China’s worldwide export base.

It also showed who had the most to gain and lose from protectionism potentially. The United States for example has a very low reliance on trade as percentage of its GDP at 28 percent.

That makes it only “moderately susceptible” to protectionist changes, whereas Russia and Germany have much higher trade to GDP ratios of 51 percent and 86 percent respectively.

“You can see why Trump is talking so tough about deals like NAFTA,” Lowe said. “Because he can.”


Related posts