Trade protection during the crisis: Does it deter foreign direct investment?
This paper looks empirically at the implications that protectionist measures implemented during the current crisis may have had for a country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment. The research utilizes data on such measures that is available from Global Trade Alert, combined with bilateral FDI data between OECD countries and a large number of partner countries for 2006 to 2009. This allows us to examine the short run effect that protectionist measures may have had on bilateral FDI flows. The verdict from this analysis is clear: a country that implements new protectionist measures may expect that this may result in lower foreign direct investment inflows into the economy. The point estimates from our preferred specifications suggest that, depending on the empirical model, the implementation of a trade protection measure is associated with about 40 to 80 percent lower FDI inflows. Trade protection does not appear to have any implications for the country’s FDI outflows, however. The negative effect on FDI inflows does not appear to be due to direct investment measures but rather to actions related to intellectual property rights protection and other more trade related measures.