Protectionism Definition

Protectionism may be defined as government policies that favor domestic products over imported goods. The debate between protectionism and free trade has been a continuing issue in United States politics.


For information on:

* systematic protectionism designed to build up domestic industry and foreign-exchange reserves, see Mercantilism

* protectionist measures, see Import Quotas; Foreign Trade, Nontariff Barriers to Trade; Tariff

* elimination or reduction of protectionist barriers to trade, see Free Trade; Commercial Treaties; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; North American Free Trade Agreement

* countries with protectionist policies, see Australia and Mexico

* United States protectionism, including States’ Rights; Theodore Roosevelt; Herbert Hoover and Isolationism

* protectionism by groups of countries, see Central America; Customs Union; European Free Trade Association; European Union

* trade wars, escalating use of protectionist measures by two nations against each other, see Francesco Crispi; The Irish Free State; Sean Lemass

Main Source: Protectionism, Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia

Summary of Protectionism

A governmental policy or attitude designed to remedy domestic economic problems attributed to excessive imports. The most common problems are a drain on exchange reserves and injury to infant domestic industries. The typical protectionist responses include import surcharges, quotas, exchange controls, and nontariff barriers.

(Main Author: William J. Miller)

See Also

History of Commercial Treaties: Protectionism

The Anglo-French Treaty of 1860-sometimes called the Cobden Treaty after the British economist and statesman Richard Cobden, who negotiated it-exemplified this change. This important treaty, meant to promulgate free trade by reducing and eliminating all tariffs between the two signatories, induced them to initiate a round of bilateral tariff reduction treaties with almost every other European nation. Almost all commercial treaties from then on included the most-favored-nation clause, which effected equal trading opportunity and opened the way for multilateral trade.

Ominous signs soon threatened this growing network of world trade. Imperialism, with its concomitant national economic rivalry and tariff warfare, became widespread. Germany reintroduced tariff protectionism in 1879, and the United States followed a high tariff policy in the post-Civil War period. Although World War I (1914-1918) did damage to this trade network, it was more the state interference in economic affairs, the high taxation rates, and the principle of state nationalization of foreign enterprise that effectively disrupted world trade in the interwar period. The cosmopolitan climate of the 19th century with its laissez-faire attitudes, that is, the noninterference by governments in economic matters, gave way to economic nationalism in the 20th century, especially after the depression of 1929 to 1933. The general principle of recognition of property rights went into decline. (1)

In this Section: Commercial Treaties, Commercial Treaties Conditions, Trade Agreements, Commercial Treaties History (including National Treatment, Protectionism and Freer Trade) and Most-Favored-Nation Clause.

Protectionism in International Trade

Meaning of Protectionism, according to the Dictionary of International Trade (Global Negotiator): The deliberate use or encouragement of restrictions on imports to enable relatively inefficient domestic producers to compete successfully with foreign producers.

Concept of Protectionism

An introductory definition of Protectionism is provided here: protecting your economy from the international economy by imposing various restrictions on flow of imports or exports of goods or services into or out of your country (see also free trade)


See Also

  • Foregin Policy
  • Foreign Affairs


See Also

  • International Trade
  • Trade Regulation
  • International Economic Law
  • Export License
  • International Trade Law
  • Foreign Trade
  • Safeguard


Notes and References

  1. Encarta Online Encyclopedia

See Also

Protectionism and International Trade Economy

In relation to international trade economy, Christopher Mark (1993) provided the following definition of Protectionism: Restriction of international trade by a government in order to shelter domestic producers from foreign competitive pressures. Fundamentally at odds with the principle ofcomparative advantage.

Hierarchical Display of Protectionism

Economics > Economic policy > Economic policy
Trade > Trade policy > Trade policy > Fair trade
Trade > Tariff policy > Tariff policy
Trade > Tariff policy > Customs tariff
Trade > Trade policy > Import policy
Trade > International trade > Trade restriction
Trade > Trade policy > Trade policy > Market intervention > Market protection


Concept of Protectionism

See the dictionary definition of Protectionism.

Characteristics of Protectionism

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Translation of Protectionism

Thesaurus of Protectionism

Economics > Economic policy > Economic policy > Protectionism
Trade > Trade policy > Trade policy > Fair trade > Protectionism
Trade > Tariff policy > Tariff policy > Protectionism
Trade > Tariff policy > Customs tariff > Protectionism
Trade > Trade policy > Import policy > Protectionism
Trade > International trade > Trade restriction > Protectionism
Trade > Trade policy > Trade policy > Market intervention > Market protection > Protectionism

See also