Digital forces driving the new protectionist agenda

Protectionism is on the rise and those setting the strategy for their business must ask themselves: are we leaving ourselves open to the risk or prepared for the opportunity?

Gowling WLG has created research and analysis into protectionism - an issue which goes beyond the current headlines of UK political turbulence, Trump and Brexit and examines what these recent seismic changes mean for UK businesses trading internationally.

This report includes exclusive research with 500 of the UK's top C-Suite and GCs, insight from our research into trade policies, as well insight from leading thinkers across a diverse range of sectors.

Mapping Global Protectionism

By studying trade policies implemented by more than 60 countries* since 2009 we've been able to build an international protectionism heatmap.

In order to understand how protectionism affects various countries, we looked at several key indicators, including their reliance on imports, the number of liberalising vs restrictive policies and finally the impact of their protectionist policies.

By examining the relationship between a country's trade imports and its tariff rate, we've also been able to understand how much money becomes tied up in protectionist policies. However, the aim is not to create a detailed economic analysis for financial experts, but to generate a broad protectionist heat map that might raise interesting questions for experts to consider.

Finally, we've been able to examine those countries which have the biggest impact on others with protectionist policies. The United States is the country which has the most effect on others according to the data, closely followed by Russia and then China. And Russia statistically affects the US more than any other country when it comes to protectionist policies.

According to the data, Kenya is the least protectionist country, with a low dependence on trade as a percentage of GDP. Our heat map gives the UK a relatively high risk of being impacted from protectionism by other countries as it has a 57 per cent dependency on trade as a percentage of GDP coupled with a high level of both liberalising and restrictive policies. Canada is at high risk of protectionism due to a high level of restrictive trading policies affecting the country.

Simply click on a country to learn more.

*Sources Heritage Index of Economic Freedom, Global Trade Alert, World Bank Databank.

Further insight into protectionism

Our research and commitment to supporting and guiding General Counsel and their businesses through protectionism will carry on well into 2018.

We've spoken to experts from across key sectors such as property, life sciences, tech, manufacturing, energy and those able to talk about America's role in global protectionism. Over the next few months we'll be releasing more information. If you'd like to talk to anyone from Gowling WLG in the meantime, please contact David Lowe or Michael Luckman.