Narrowing the ChannelThe Politics of Regulatory Protection in International Trade

Narrowing the ChannelThe Politics of Regulatory Protection in International Trade

Robert Gulotty

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226669229

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

It is widely expected that the growth and power of trade-dependent and multinational firms would make protectionism politically untenable. This book argues that governments can use trade barriers to advance the competitive interests of large businesses whose operations span borders. Regulatory barriers to trade act as entry barriers for smaller foreign competitors, raising prices and profits for large multinationals. As a result, governments that have more at stake in the profits of multinational firms are more likely to embrace stricter regulatory standards. The book offers statistical evidence from disputed measures at the WTO, as well as contentious fights over safety and health in the food, chemical, and even children’s toy manufacturing to show that large firms, and their host governments, not only embrace but demand stricter regulation, all at the expense of smaller foreign firms.