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The Changing Nature of Protectionism: Are "Free Traders" Up to the Challenges It Presents?

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  • Kerr, William A.

Abstract

In the economic model that underlies the WTO the only group that can be expected to ask for protection is producers in importing countries. The existing multilateral trade architecture reflects that assumption. Much of the recent criticism of the multilateral trade regime has arisen as a result of new groups explicitly asking domestic politicians for protection. As these groups were not expected to ask for protection, the international trade regime does not allow domestic politicians to extend protection on the basis of the new demands. Further, countries are expected to perceive benefits from trade liberalisation. These benefits must be balanced against the expected political benefits of protectionism (and their associated welfare costs) when trade negotiations are being conducted. Failed economies, however, see few benefits from liberalisation and, hence, are biased toward protectionism, particularly if trade restrictions are a source of corruption incomes. This article explains the sources of new appeals for protectionism, outlines the relationship with traditional producer protectionism and lays out the challenges the new pressures present for trade-liberalising multilateral institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade in its journal Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy.

Volume (Year): 05 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:23903

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Related research

Keywords: consumers; environmentalists; failed economies; producers; protectionism; welfare; International Relations/Trade;

References

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  1. Nick Perdikis & William A. Kerr, 1999. "Can Consumer-based Demands for Protection be Incorporated in the WTO? - The Case of Genetically Modified Foods," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 47(4), pages 457-465, December.
  2. Lloyd A. Metzler, 1949. "Tariffs, the Terms of Trade, and the Distribution of National Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57, pages 1.
  3. William A. Kerr & Jill E. Hobbs, 2002. "The North American-European Union Dispute Over Beef Produced Using Growth Hormones: A Major Test for the New International Trade Regime," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 283-296, 02.
  4. Kerr, William A., 2003. "Science-based Rules of Trade: A Mantra for Some, An Anathema for Others," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 4(2).
  5. Isaac, Grant E., 2003. "Increasing the Openness of the Trade Policy Process: Challenges and Implications," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 4(1).
  6. Hobbs, A. L. & Hobbs, J. E. & Isaac, G. E. & Kerr, W. A., 2002. "Ethics, domestic food policy and trade law: assessing the EU animal welfare proposal to the WTO," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 437-454.
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Cited by:
  1. Cardwell, Ryan T., 2008. "Food Aid and the WTO: Can New Rules Be Effective?," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 9(1).
  2. Schleyer, Christian & Theesfeld, Insa & Hagedorn, Konrad & Aznar, Olivier & Callois, Jean-Marc & Verburg, Rene & Yelkouni, Martin & Olsson, Johanna Alkan, 2007. "Approach towards an operational tool to apply institutional analysis for the assessment of policy feasibility within SEAMLESS-IF," Reports 9295, SEAMLESS: System for Environmental and Agricultural Modelling, Linking European Science and Society.

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