From the Telegraph:
The most famous act of protectionism took place in the 1930s when the US government, facing the early forces of depression, legislated to impose tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods – some significantly. The act triggered a spiral of retaliatory protectionism across the world, and in the view of some economists, fuelled both the Great Depression and the geopolitical tension that led to the Second World War.
2. Common Agricultural Policy
Under the CAP – a European scheme, although similar programmes are in place in the US and throughout the developed world – domestic farmers are given subsidies for producing (or in some cases not producing) food. Without such subsidies many domestic agricultural businesses would collapse, since they cannot compete with the cheap prices charged by overseas exporters for everything from vegetables to livestock to cotton.
3. Shoe wars, bra wars
Recently, in his former role as European Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson accused China of illegally dumping vast numbers of shoes – and later bras – on the European markets. “Dumping” is the name given when a country exports a product at a price even lower than that paid in its domestic market. Under the WTO code, it can act against such moves under so-called “anti-dumping” rules.
4. Chinese tyres
China and the US are currently locked in a trade battle over the trade in car tyres. In September, the US Congress accused China of illegally swamping the US market with cheap tyres and imposed tariffs on those imported from the Asian giant. China in turn accused the US of protectionism, arguing that exports to America had actually dropped last year. But with thousands of American jobs on the line, the case is still the focus of heated debate.
5. India vs China
The WTO is not merely a mechanism for the West to fight its own corner against cheaper emerging market exporters. Emerging and developing nations also use it as a forum to tackle their own independent trade battles. Recently, China and India have been locked in debate over trade, with India accusing China of expanding overly aggressively into its silk and satin markets. India argues that Chinese prices are so cheap that its key domestic industry is simply unable to compete.