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Protectionism in the West - the third world link

Briefing/policy papers

This briefing paper notes the recent warnings by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about an accelerating slide into protectionism in Europe and North America. The paper argues that although less developed countries (LDCs) are not a significant threat to trade or jobs, they are none the less an obvious scapegoat and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of protectionism because they are too weak to retaliate. Politicians may therefore find it expedient to act against them. However, the paper concludes that such action would hurt not only the developing countries but also the exporters and consumers of the developed world.