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DECRG Trade Seminar: Taking Stock of Antidumping, Safeguards, and Countervailing Duties, 1990-2009

Sponsor: Development Economics and Chief Economist (DEC)

Speaker: Chad Bown, World Bank

Astract: This paper examines the evolving, cross-country use of antidumping, countervailing duties, and safeguard policies – temporary trade barriers (TTBs) – over the period 1990-2009. We draw from the World Bank’s Temporary Trade Barriers Database and construct annual, product-level flow and stock measures of these TTBs, highlighting heterogeneity in the use and potential impact of such barriers across major using countries, industries, trading partners, and time. We establish a number of stylized facts regarding trends in historical use. Major developed economies have reduced the stock of imported products they subject to TTBs over the last fifteen years to current levels that are roughly 50% of their within-period peak. Developed economies have also reduced the incidence of such barriers imposed on other high-income economies’ exports and shifted the composition of TTBs that remain onto primarily developing economies. Nevertheless, the comparative evidence across countries is that TTBs are increasingly a “South-South” phenomenon, as major emerging economies have subjected the largest shares of their imported products  to such barriers, and such barriers  increasingly target imports from other developing countries. While, in the level, China’s export stock is distinct with roughly four times as many products subject to foreign-imposed TTBs as the second most-targeted economy, a number of other developing economies are experiencing growth rates comparable to China in terms of the incidence of their exports being targeted over time, as well as relative to their penetration of new export markets (extensive margin). Finally, we benchmark these historical trends against newly available data from the economic shock of the 2008-2009 global crisis, a period which accentuates and deepens the pre-crisis patterns to the data. For example, while the major G20 users of such policies have combined to increase the stock of product-lines subject to TTBs by 25% during the crisis, only 3% of this is the result of high-income economies, as developing economies have increased their stock of product coverage by 41%. We also describe the likely persistence of such patterns to discriminatory import protection due to the peculiarities of the WTO’s self-enforcing dispute settlement system. We conclude by identifying new research questions relating the evolving use of TTBs to the theories of trade agreements and the rules and principles of the world trading system.

For Information: Yasmin D Souza

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