Report: U.S. adopted highest number of protectionist measures since 2008
Updated 19:28, 29-Nov-2019

The U.S. has adopted the highest numbers of protectionist trade measures in the world since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, according to a report published this month by Allianz and Euler Hermes Economic Research.

Protectionism uses restrictions such as tariffs in an effort to boost one country's industry by shielding it from foreign competitors.

Since 2008 – the year financial crisis struck the Wall Street – the U.S. has adopted 790 protectionist trade measures, compared to UK's 357, Germany's 390, France's 262, Canada's 199 and Australia's 174.

China adopted 256 of such measures, while India adopted 566 and Brazil 302.

Allianz and Euler Hermes believes that trade policy is becoming a political tool for different policy ends.

In May 2018, the U.S. announced a 25-percent steel and 10-percent aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico in the name of "national security", which was only lifted a year later.

In October, the U.S. imposed tariffs on a record 7.5 billion U.S. dollars worth of European Union goods, despite threats of retaliation.

Read more: 

U.S. imposes tariffs on EU goods, targeting Airbus, wine and whisky

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China has pushed the U.S. average tariff on imported goods to around eight percent, up from 3.5 percent in late 2017, according to the report.

Opposite of protectionism is free trade, which means choosing the cheaper or better-made products from anywhere in the world with as few tariffs as possible.

Read more: BRICS leaders speak out against protectionism

Free trade is great for companies in costs cutting, and in turn helps drive prices down and boost the world economy, whereas tariffs often leads to higher costs for the consumer, while economists across the world are against the plans.

Read more: 

U.S. Fed study finds American consumers pay for tariffs, not China

Pervasive protectionism has pushed countries to sharpen their trade arsenals. The Allianz and Euler Hermes research shows that 1,290 new trade barriers were set up in 2019. It continues that in value terms, trade could have contracted 1.7 percent in 2019, due to a negative price effect, as illustrated by the drop in commodity prices. Globally, exporters lost 420 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.