The Financial Crisis, ‘New’ Industrial Policy, and the Bite of Multilateral Trade Rules

Vinod K Aggarwal and Simon J. Evenett

Asian Economic Policy Review, 2010

The recent Great Recession has triggered substantial government intervention – not all of it macroeconomic. This article presents evidence that the sectoral incidence and forms of government intervention appear to have changed from pre-crisis regularities. Once the commercial significance of a sector is taken into account, pre-crisis measures of trade policy intervention poorly predict the crisis-era sectoral incidence of discriminatory state measures imposed by Asian governments. Qualitative evidence focusing on three key countries in Asia – China, Japan, and South Korea – is also marshaled to sustain the contention that Asian governments have used the recent economic crisis to reinvigorate industrial policies, targeting apparent growth poles and apparently environmentally friendly technologies and sectors. Implications for the expansion of World Trade Organization rules and their effectiveness are discussed.

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