Changing Patterns of Protectionism: The Fall in Tariffs and the Rise in Non-Tariff Barriers Symposium: The Political Economy of International Trade Law and Policy

Ray, Edward John | January 1, 1987

The model constructed in this Article explains how the efforts of special interest groups within a nation interact with its domestic political and foreign policy objectives to influence the nation’s overall structure of trade regulations. Section II of the Article, therefore, begins by providing a simple analytical framework which can help to explain the evolution of both the pattern and the level of protectionism in the United States and other countries.2 Section III of the Article reviews the history of United States trade policy and summarizes the current economic and political climate for protectionist legislation in the United States. The Article will then expand its analysis in Section IV by attempting to explain historical events more fully in terms of the framework set out in Section II. Section V describes the reasons behind the growth in nontariff barriers (“NTBs”) over the past several decades. Finally, Section VI attempts to explain the current pattern of international trade restrictions, 3 and to forecast the direction in which events are likely to move in the years to come.