IN JANUARY 2000, George W. Bush, then a presidential candidate, said: “If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow.” His eloquence did little for the cause of free trade. Tariffs have consistently retained broad global support despite the spoonerism.
GlobeScan, a consultancy, has regularly conducted surveys in several developing and developed countries. They measure support for trade barriers, globalisation and free markets. Since 2002, average global support for trade barriers has remained relatively stable at around two-thirds of respondents (see chart 1). Support for globalisation and the free market has been more variable, falling sharply during the financial crisis before recovering in recent years.