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The Great Recession and Import Protection: The Role of Temporary Trade Barriers

Editor: Chad P. Bown.  Published on July 15, 2011

The Great Recession of 2008–9 caused a negative shock to the global economy that is comparable with the Great Depression of the 1930s, and with it came an uncertainty that was especially endemic to the early periods of the crisis. There was particularly acute uncertainty regarding trade policy. Could the modern trading system withstand such a devastating economic blow? Specifically, would governments live up to their early-crisis pledge to refrain from protectionism?

While it is now unequivocal that the 2008–9 recession did not lead to a set of catastrophic protectionist policies on anywhere near the scale of the 1930s Great Depression, the facts simply do not support the idea that countries did not adjust their trade policies during this period. Many countries were quite active with their trade policy during the crisis. Policies like anti-dumping, safeguards and countervailing duties (CVDs) – referred to collectively as temporary trade barriers (TTBs) – played an important and perhaps even critical role.

An understanding of the details of this activity is required in order to generate insight into how the trading system withstood the threat of collapse. This volume offers a collection of research that begins to fill a major information gap by providing empirical details of many of the important changes that took place under these trade policies during 2008–9.

The contributors to this volume are Piyush Chandra, Lawrence Edwards, Moonsung Kang, Baybars Karacaovali, Rodney D. Ludema, Anna Maria Mayda, Michael O. Moore, Marcelo Olarreaga, Soonchan Park, Thomas J. Prusa, Raymond Robertson, Patricia Tovar, Marcel Vaillant, Hylke Vandenbussche and Christian Viegelahn.

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