The New Protectionism

Green, Carl J. | January 1, 1981

One of the crucial challenges of the Eighties is to maintain an open and expanding international trade system. Despite the successful completion of the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations in 1979,’ the liberal principles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are under increasing attack. Protectionism has become increasingly prevalent in Europe and is mounting rapidly in the United States. The principal targets of protectionism are Japan, the newly industrialized countries of Asia3 and the developing countries generally, whose expanding exports represent serious challenges to traditional industrial sectors in the mature industrial countries. Unless the doors of the trading “club” remain open to new entrants, there is great danger that the system will break down into blocs, such as a Japan-centered Asian bloc or an EEC-African bloc, or that it will collapse in a grim replay of the 1930s.