Thursday, April 18, 2013

Trade remedies - Are they protectionist measures?

Trade remedies like anti-dumping, safeguard measures or countervailing duties are often the subject matter of intense debate in the context of being protectionist and hindering the growth of trade. Are they a legitimate tool to balance national policy objectives with excessive free trade? Should they be construed positively?

Stewart and Stewart carried this piece on how to view trade remedies in the context of the overal multilateral system. View in the overall context, it suggested that trade remedies are not bad after all and need not be construed as being protectionist as suggested by many.
"Resort to internationally agreed trade remedies is not a sign of protectionism in the sense of something that undermines the international trading system. Rather, trade remedies are an integral part of the trading system and can help member nations expand their liberalization. Of course, trade remedies should be pursued in a manner consistent with international obligations and should be challenged when they are not. While there are learning curve issues for new users, technical assistance from established users and challenges where appropriate will help new users bring their systems into conformance. A more serious problem exists where any member, whether on a one-off basis or as a matter of practice uses trade remedies for purposes of retaliation against a trading partner’s use of WTO rights. There should be a zero tolerance approach for such actions."
I had blogged about this aspect in an earlier post commenting on Mark Wu's article in the Harvard International Law Journal on the use of anti-dumping by India and China. Another piece about which I had blogged here considered antidumping co-operation rather than a protectionist measure.

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