Shuffling amidst the slog

. . . that is the global economy is the topic of my latest Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld. Excerpts:

"Having said that, protectionism, particularly of the 'creeping' kind, seems to be keeping a steady presence. WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy recently declared that there seems to be "further slippage" as far as protectionism is concerned. The WTO indeed found that in the period March to mid-June of this year, 119 new trade measures were instituted, of which 83 were classified as trade restricting. These figures do not yet include measures implemented in response or related to the H1N1 outbreak.

However, of the most recent kinds of protectionist measures, the one with the most profound effect on global attitude toward trade seem to be the 'buy local' provisions, particularly that enacted by the US. The US law provides that no funds appropriated under the law shall be used for a project for the construction or repair of a public work unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the US."