Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Everybody’s doing it

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Few politicians so far are calling for protectionism.

Among economic and diplomatic policy-makers, openly advocating protectionism is about as socially acceptable as promoting child pornography.

So how to explain the slew of tariff hikes, export subsidies, non-tariff barriers, stimulus packages and bailouts — highlighted in a report at the World Trade Organisation –¬†which all have the effect of slowing imports, boosting exports and generally promoting jobs at home at the expense of competitors?

The answer: they are not protectionist. Everybody says so.

New subsidies for French carmakers? Not a whiff of protectionism, says French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde. It’s all about research and development.

Export subsidies resumed for EU dairy produce? Not protectionism, says EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton. It’s just a technical measure triggered by market prices.

Trying to deconstruct Chinese oil policy

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china-fuel.jpgChina’s surprise decision late on Thursday to slash subsidies on fuel prices has been welcomed as a sign that Beijing is intent on reducing the pace of oil demand growth in the world’s second biggest energy consumer.

That, in theory, should help contain the upward spiral in world oil prices that took crude to a high of nearly $140 a barrel last week. Nine out of 10 analysts polled by Reuters immediately after the news took that line. But there is a contrarian view.

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