Restrictive trade practices

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Unfair trade practices
Protectionism in international trade
Defensive trade measures
Economic nationalism
International trade barriers
National trade protectionism
Discriminatory trade restrictions

Trade protectionism is the result of governments acting to save certain sectors of their economies from foreign competition. The impact of this on the fledgling industries is considerable but they are in no position to retaliate. Protectionist policies have also been directed by developed countries against each other, but this is usually carefully negotiated to avoid retaliation.


Increased unemployment in industrialized countries has encouraged protection against labour-intensive imports from developing countries, especially traditional products. Increased protectionism has had a direct influence on the growth performance of developing countries by lowering the demand for their exports and exerting a downward pressure on export prices and earnings. It has also hampered efforts in developing countries to diversify away from traditional products. The total exports of developing to developed market-economy countries declined by about one fifth between 1981 and 1985.

As in developed-market economy countries, protection in developing countries has involved efficiency losses in those cases in which it has been excessive. In a recent study estimates that trade and technical barriers within the European Community were costing community industries Ecu 120 billion per year. In the USA it has been found that a permanent policy of tariff protection would cost, per job, 14 times more than it would provide in private benefit to the individual worker; it would cost US$ 1 for every 7 cents gained by workers whose jobs were preserved. In Canada, the ratio was 70 to 1; for every 1.5 cents by which the worker would be better off, one Canadian dollar would be wasted.

World Trade Organization (WTO)
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Nordkalottrådet (NKR)
Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC)
Pacific Trade and Development Conference (PAFTAD)
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium (IATRC)
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade - New Zealand Aid Programme
International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
Consumers International (CI)
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
UNI Global Union
World Customs Organization (WCO)
World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
World Organization of Workers (WOW)
Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT)
Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC)
Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST)
Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC)
In House Competition Lawyers' Association (ICLA)
International Association for the Distributive Trade
International Trade and Finance Association (IT and FA)
International Workers' Association (IWA)
Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT)
Merchant Risk Council (MRC)
Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT)
Asia Business Trade Association (ABTA)
Asia Competition Association (ACA)
Association of European Competition Law Judges (AECLJ)
Association of International Credit and Trade Finance Professionals (ICTF)
Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Caribbean Council (CC)
Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU)
East African Community Customs Union (EACCU)
Efficient Consumer Response Asia (ECR Asia)
European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI)
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
03.02.2021 – 18:26 CET