Global Trade Alert: A New Resource in Staving Off Protectionist Tendencies

By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig

There have been stimulus plans, social programs, targeted monetary policies and a whole host of other policy interventions during this crisis. Although as natural as it may seem to want to use these vehicles to protect our employees and our products, the theory of comparative advantage — that provides the foundation for understanding the benefits of global trade — would say that as a whole, we will make ourselves worse off in the long run by engaging in this behavior.

There is a great, new resource in this fight to maintain global trade and the benefits that it affords. It is called Global Trade Alert. It is coordinated by many organizations including, but not limited to CEPR, DFID, IDRC, and The World Bank. It lists policy actions of major world players and which other countries the policy is most likely to affect through reduced commerce. Check it out.

3 thoughts on “Global Trade Alert: A New Resource in Staving Off Protectionist Tendencies”

  1. I agree that you do need to consider issues beyond our borders in this recession. This Global Trade Alert is a very interesting site. I really like that you can see which countries are affected by specfic tariff programs. But that does raise the question in my mind about tariffs. Don’t tariffs put on U.S. goods going into other countries make it harder to increase the international market for U.S. manufactured products?

  2. Yes, Kate —

    Tariffs on US products definitely would hurt the the market for our goods. If there is a tariff, it basically just makes the good more expensive, which would obvioulsy result in a lower quantity being demanded abroad.

    What is always difficult about trade is that the tariffs and barriers in general tend to be reciprocal, so without knowing the specifics of a situation it is difficult to evaluate blame — but what we do know is that this vicious cycle hurts most parties involved. Reading the WTO cases is always interesting to me because the cases that are brought to the WTO always highlight the nuance and the sometimes difficulty in evaluating what is “free” trade. Check some cases out at: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_E/dispu_e/dispu_status_e.htm.

    Thanks for your post! Cindy

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