The Great Recession has brought renewed interest to the question of how trade policy responds to economic shocks, especially in the face of trade agreements like the WTO. New research that examines new import restrictions through the lens of a particularly important class of trade policies – the temporary trade barriers (TTBs) of antidumping, safeguards, and countervailing duties - finds that emerging-economy trade policy has become more responsive to economic shocks under the WTO. The integration of emerging economies into the multilateral trading system since the 1980s – resulting in lower applied border tariffs and some binding WTO tariff commitments – has resulted in a heightened responsiveness of these other trade policies to economic shocks. In a number of ways, business cycles and real exchange rate movements, for example, affect application of new import restrictions by emerging economies much like they do for high-income economies.
To know more, see my recent post (with Meredith Crowley) on this topic on VoxEu.