Global Trade Protectionism Surges To Post-Crisis Highs

World trade volume growth is languishing at a mere 1.3% YoY - a level only seen worse during the 2000/1 and 2008/9 global crises. Central banks have shot their wads to the point of no return. Governments have hit a peak-debt wall of fiscal irresponsibility. So what's left in the great depression playbook... why protectionism of course. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, global trade protectionism has surged to its highest since the financal crisis according to Global Trade Alert.

 

Global growth has collapsed...

 

and so everyone is playing the protectionist card...

 

and while Russia leads the way since 2008...

 

the measures are increasingly global...

431 protectionist measures were imposed since June 2012, compared with 141 steps taken to liberalize trade. Another 183 practices aimed at restricting trade are in the pipeline. G-20 nations are responsible for 65 percent of all measures imposed in the past year.

 

and Via Simon Evenett at VoxEU,

With the exception of the occasional trade spat, this resurgence in protectionism has been accomplished quietly. Governments have become adept at tilting the playing field in favour of domestic firms without provoking the ire of trading partners. Figure 2 shows that the larger trading nations – G8 members and the other members of the G20 – account for the lion's share of the 431 protectionist measures implemented during the year from June 2012 to May 2013.

 




These are the number of almost certainly discriminatory measures implemented by a jurisdiction (those measures coded red in the GTA database), the number of products affected by the (red) protectionist measures implemented by a jurisdiction, the number of economic sectors covered by (red) protectionist measures implemented by a jurisdiction, and the number of trading partners harmed by the (red) protectionist measures implemented by a jurisdiction.

 

Which countries have inflicted the most harm since November 2008?

 

 

 

The past 12 months have seen a quiet, wide-ranging assault on the commercial level playing field. When protectionist dynamics were viewed as a compelling threat to the world economy in early 2009, defenders of an open trading system took up arms. They would be wise to do so again before international commerce fragments further along national lines.

Charts: Bloomberg and Global Trade Alert