Protectionism can dramatically affect your export performance. It is then mandatory that Export Managers keep an eye on it and how it is evolving.

After reading this post, you will be able to keep track of protectionism trends:

  1. On global level;
  2. Among specific countries;
  3. For specific sectors and products.

To get information that you can immediately use for your Export plans, use tool created by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, accessible on the Global Trade Alert website.

1. Global Trends

Go to the Homepage of Global Trade Alert and click on the yellow boxes indicated by the yellow arrow. You will access the “Global Dynamics” page you you will see an intuitive recap of what’s happening worldwide in terms of trade policy regulation (restriction and liberalization).

Global_Trade_Alert-homepageAfter you clicked on the tab, this is what you see:

Global_dynamics-general-trendsLet’s see briefly some of the information you can find on this page.

You get information on the “Total number of implemented interventions since November 2008” (2008 is the year when Global Trade Alert was implemented).

In the blue box on your right-hand side, you can change some parameters, such as the time period you want to focus your research on.

In the highlighted yellow box, number “9566” indicates the total number of Harmful interventions on goods and services exchange in the World.
In other words, the number shows how many new regulations have been implemented to limit the free trade among countries.

In the small pale blue box, the number “598” indicates the total number of Harmful interventions that – at the moment of our research – have neither been fully approved nor Global Trade alert could get confirmation of the interventions (from an official source such as Government).

In the green box, the number “3569” indicates the number of interventions for Liberalizing the International trade.

Underlined in yellow, there is the graph that represents the number of interventions adopted on an annual basis. On you right-hand side, underlined in orange, there is the graph that represents the 5 tools mostly used to restrict or liberilize trade.

If you keep scrolling down the page, you will see the Nations where most of the Harmful and the Liberalizing interventions have been put in place.

The more intense green and pink colors get, the more the interventions have affected the country.

Global_dynamics-interventions-affecting-each-countryKeep scrolling down and see the Interventions Implemented by Each Country. Also here, the intensification of the color indicates the intensification of the intervention in each country.

For instance, the USA are intense pink which means that the country has put in place a lot of trade restriction for the international trade.


In the screenshot below, you get other useful information with regards to the Sectors affected most often by the Harmful or Liberalizing intervention.


It is crystal-clear that the “Motor vehicle” sector has been liberalized while the “Products of iron and steel” have been affected by protectionist interventions.

The last screenshot of the Global Dynamics section, gives you information on what Products have been affected most often by the new regulations.


2. Dynamics among specific countries

Now, go back to the Homepage and click on the orange box pointed by the orange arrow and click on “Countries”:

Global_Trade_Alert-countriesYou will then get into the page where all countries are listed in alphabetic order. Alternatively, you can find a specific country by using the search tab.


From the list of the Nations, we have clicked on “Italy”. The screenshot below shows what the page looks like:


In the orange box, you see the Nation that is implementing the intervention (in our example it is Italy) while in the yellow box you can see the Nation (or the Nations if you select more than one) which is affected by the intervention.

If you do not select any Country, the system will automatically select “All” countries. By clicking on “All”, you can then select the specific Nation(s) you want to analyze.

In the “Country” section of the website, you will be able to drill down into the the specific Nation(s) you want to potete restringere le vostre ricerche al Paese o a Paesi precisi per far emergere situazioni di particolare cambiamento a favore o a sfavore dell’interscambio commerciale.

Also, you can investigate on:

  • Number of new interventions per year;
  • Affected countries;
  • Track record of commercial policy;
  • Sectors and products affected most often;
  • State interventions used to generate the graphs.

In the next chapter, we will drill down into any of this aspect.

3. Dynamics for specific sectors and products

From the Homepage, click on the green box pointed by the green arrow and enter the “Sectors & Products” section.


The page looks like this:


For instance, let’s say you want to investigate “Olive Oil”. To find it among all the other products, you can look at any section you can find it by using the search tab as highlighted in red box and pointed by the red arrows:


If you then click on “Olive oil and its fractions…”, you will get to the following page:


In the orange box, you see the sectors which is – in our example – the macro category “Vegetable oils”. In the green box instead, you see what product you are investigating. In our example, the product is “1509 Olive oil and its fractions, …”.

In the pale blue box you see “Number of New Interventions per Year“ which says that the graphs below indicate the Number of new intervention per year.

The green graph regards Liberalizing interventions while the pink color is about the Harmful ones.

Scrolling down the page, you will also find out the following information:

  • Implementing Countries, which means all the Nations which have implemented new regulations;


  • Affected countries, which means alla Nations that have been receiving the interventions;


  • Intervention types used most often, which means the Type of regulations most used. Import-export tariff are the tools mostly used.


  • Lastly, you see the section for the State Interventions Used to Generate the Graph. This is important, as Global Trade Alert keeps track of any single regulation issued by the States and it shows you that the graphs are generated by considering Official Sources. This shows that

Global Trade Alert information is reliable as it is based on reliable sources.


From the Global Trade Alert website, you can get much more information by changing the parameters of research and align it to your investigation purposes.

Do you think it is useful to keep track of Protectionism trends for the Countries, Sector and Products you market?

Let me have your thoughts!

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