OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Trends in Market Openness

Widening imbalances in current account positions across some of the major OECD economic areas have raised concerns about related increases in protectionist sentiments. This paper reviews recent trends in market openness indicators and assesses whether barriers to international trade and investment have risen. It finds that tariffs, the most transparent form of protection, have fallen steadily over a long period. Usage of non-tariff barriers also declined up to 1996. But despite these developments most OECD countries continue to highly protect certain sectors such as agriculture. The paper reviews in some depth the incidence, geographical distribution and product composition of anti-dumping initiations, since their use as disguised protection is feared. Against the background of a general decline in direct trade restrictions the paper shows, using a variety of indicators the steady - albeit uneven across sectors and countries - improvement in market openness. The study also examines ...


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