Did WTO rules restrain protectionism during the recent systemic crisis?
AbstractThis paper challenges the contention that WTO rules had much impact on state behaviour during the recent global economic crisis. Evidence on the variety of discrimination implemented by governments, characteristics of the recent systemic crisis, as well as on certain, often overlooked features of WTO obligations are used to support a conclusion that the WTO rules altered at most the composition of crisis-era protectionism. As to the quantum of protectionism, it is unclear how WTO rules could have prevented many governments from adopting tariff increases on the scale of the Smoot Hawley tariff. Pessimistic implications are drawn concerning the future restraining role that multilateral trade obligations could ever play during systemic economic crises. Realistically, the fate of the open world trading system must rely on other incentives to refrain from protectionism.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8687.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order; Noneconomic International Organizations;; Economic Integration and Globalization: General
- F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
- F53 - International Economics - - International Relations and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
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