Protectionism: Trade Policy in Democratic Societies

By Jan Tumlir | Go to book overview

Notes
1.
This did not preclude legislative initiatives in tariff policy. The German Reichstag adopted a new tariff in 1879 and the French parliament in 1892. It was the task of diplomacy, however, to make other countries accept these autonomous tariff changes without retaliation, and this consideration was taken into account in the legislative discussion; the legislated tariff increases were moderate, especially when measured by the standards of the twentieth century. The small European countries, which had generally very low tariffs, had more freedom to act autonomously than the large ones.
2.
Jacob Viner, International Economics (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1951), p. 105.
3.
The forms of this adjustment in different European countries are analyzed in Charles P. Kindleberger, Economic Response ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978), chapter 2.
4.
The steep fall in grain prices was instrumental in the German tariff increase of 1879 and in the passage of the Méline Tariff in France in 1892. Duties on grain were also raised in Italy in 1887 and 1888. These autonomous increases did not disrupt the commercial treaty system of Europe mainly because they were recognized to be directed against the two large outsiders, the United States and Russia. At the same time, commercial tension between continental Europe and the United States was rising perceptibly. "[The United States] was the first important country to depart from the free-trade or low- tariff trend which had become almost universally prevalent during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. From the 1880s on there was a well founded conviction among continental European countries that the United States would not moderate its own tariff, and would retaliate forcefully against any concerted move for reciprocal reduction of duties on the part of other countries if its benefits were not freely extended to American goods. This conviction operated as a powerful psychological barrier against tariff reduction by international agreement." ( Viner, International Economics, p. 283.)
5.
See, for example, Allan H. Meltzer, "Monetary and Other Explanations of the Start of the Great Depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 2 ( November 1976).
6.
An additional "payment," accentuating the protectionist bias of the act, was introduced by an administrative "escape clause" allowing particular tariff rates to be raised to prevent or remedy "injury" to an import-competing industry.
7.
Literal measurement was, of course, impossible; what both sides could consider "equivalent" had to be established in protracted bargaining.
8.
"The Government has denounced all commercial conventions embodying the most-favored-nation clause. That clause will not reappear. It will never again place itself at cross-purposes with our efforts. It will never again poison our tariff policy." M. Clémentel, French minister of commerce in an official declaration of December 15, 1918, quoted by Viner, International Economics, p. 95.

-36-

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Protectionism: Trade Policy in Democratic Societies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Foreword v
  • Jan Tumlir - August 18, 1926-June 22, 1985 vii
  • 1 - The Economic and Political Aspects of Protection 1
  • 2 - The Historical Aspects of Protection 19
  • Notes 36
  • 3 - The New Protectionism 38
  • Notes 55
  • 4 - A Systemic Solution 56
  • Notes 72
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