protectionism

Gideon Rachman

(LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

Hold back the celebratory cupcakes (Getty)

As the FT reported this morning, the US has refused to give the Europeans the big, bold announcement on trade that they were desperately seeking.

The plan was that tomorrow’s US-EU summit would announce the beginning of negotiations to form a trade agreement between the US and Europe. But, for now, the Americans are refusing to play ball.

In Brussels, some may see this as a lamentable lack of vision. In fact, it is simply a welcome injection of some scepticism and realism. 

Alan Beattie

One of the very few bright spots in governments’ generally grim recent performance of managing the world economy has been that trade protectionism, rampant during the Great Depression, has been relatively absent.

That may no longer be the case. The WTO, fairly sanguine about the use of trade barriers over the past few years, warns today that things are getting worrying. The EU made a similar point yesterday. And this monitoring service has been pointing out for a long time that a lot of the new forms of protectionism aren’t counted under the traditional categories, thanks to gaping holes in international trade law. 

Alan Beattie

Some concern among Republicans about the anti-China belligerence in Mitt Romney’s big jobs speech on Tuesday. (Ironically it was Greg Mankiw, one of Romney’s economic advisers, who said one of the bravest and most sensible things on economics to come out of the Bush administration, and was forced to apologise for it.)