Monitoring protectionism with Global Trade Alert

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It’s World Trade Week in the UK. Unfortunately, I flew Heathrow to JFK yesterday, so I was unable to attend. At yesterday’s conference, Peter Mandelson introduced and Simon Evenett explained a new watchdog website devoted to monitoring protectionism – Global Trade Alert. Reuters reports:

British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said the Global Trade Alert site would act as a watchdog to deter governments from protectionist measures that he warned would only make the recession “longer and more painful.”

“Everyone is watching everyone else and there is a lot to be said for peer pressure,” he said. “(The) trading system faces a huge crisis of demand and of credit, but the real long-term risk to its health lies in protectionism.”…

The website, http://www.globaltradealert.org, will be co-funded by the British government and run by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a London-based thinktank. About 700 researchers working mainly in European universities will gather evidence.

It’ll be interesting to see how the UK government monitors itself. As for those 700 researchers, that’s the total number of economists affiliated with CEPR. I don’t think they’ve all been reassigned to Global Trade Alert. 🙂

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