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PROTECTIONISM: New restrictions limiting trade, exporters say

THE lingering effects of  t he economic downturn have tightened the level of protectionism worldwide, which local firms cite as a barrier to bolstering trade overseas, according to a survey released by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Roughly 30 per cent of the 418 local exporters in the manufacturing industry that responded to the survey said they think there are more restrictions on international trade now than in the past.

The companies pegged the increase on stricter measures that countries have enacted on imported goods in response to the economic downturn. According to the KCCI survey, exports dipped 5 per cent due to the increased level of protectionism outside Korea, which includes measures such as additional tariffs on imported goods, new restrictive quotas and more government regulations.

“The global financial crisis (that started late last year) has left many countries around the world with various challenges, for example, the surging jobless rate,” the KCCI said in a statement. “And it is often the case that in tough economic times, countries tend to enact further measures on trade and imports by elevating tax rates in order to protect their domestic industries.”

Indeed, according to a report released by Global Trade Alert, an international private trade research agency, the accumulated number of protective trade measures across the world increased from 85 in July to 297 as of December 9.

“Considering that Korea’s dependence on trade exports exceeds 90 per cent, should protectionism continue to rise worldwide, the speed of the economic recovery in Korea will likely be delayed,” the chamber said, asking the government to help local firms overcome protectionism by strengthening its monitoring system on global trade policy.


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