IfW in the News

Protectionism is much more than just tariffs

19.04.2018

Oped by Rolf Langhammer, who points out, that most of the trade barriers are non tariff.

Excerpt from the article

(...) Is Donald Trump ultimately right? The current trade war between the US and the EU has led to whispers that the American president isn’t entirely wrong when he claims the United States is treated unfairly by Europe. But let’s take a look at the facts.

Both sides agreed to the current level and structure of tariffs during the last multilateral trade talks at the start of the 1990s. They were even the driving force behind the completion of the so-called Uruguay Round. At the time, the US was fine with Europe and other countries imposing higher import duties than it did. It was acting in the interest of its own consumers and manufacturing sector, and those duties remain in place today.

(…) The minimal differences in average tariffs are insufficient proof of the EU’s increased protectionism. Four other factors show that jumping to conclusions can be dangerous.

(…) Generally speaking, it’s incorrect to say the EU is more protectionist based solely on effective import duties. Both the EU and the US have their protectionist sides — and sin equally.

Complete article

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