The Political Economy of Administering Trade Laws
Domestic industries can be protected from foreign competition through a vast array of policy measures. Some measures — such as import tariffs, quantitative restrictions, and anti-dumping and countervailing duties — are aimed explicitly at strengthening the competitive position of domestic firms, while others — such as product standards, testing and labelling requirements, and even certain types of sales taxes2 — have differently stated aims but the same ultimate effects of industry protection. Students of the political economy of international trade assert that both explicit and implicit measures of protection are the result of governments’ attempts to maximize their political power. In a democracy, this generally means that a government legislates and administers laws with the objective of maximizing its chances of being re-elected.
KeywordsTrade Policy Political Support Tariff Rate Domestic Industry Discretionary Power
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