In-house Seminar – The Trade Origins of Protectionism and Deglobalisation of Our Time

30 June 2021

Dr Asanka Wijesinghe, Research Economist at the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) presented his research on “The Trade Origins of Protectionism and Deglobalisation of Our Time” at an IPS in-house seminar. Dr Wijesinghe explained that protectionist trade policies mostly stem from underlying political grievances, and the resulting trade wars have left people worse, not better off. He also noted that while there was a slowdown in global trade after the COVID-19 outbreak, trade volume swiftly recovered during the first quarter of 2021, even exceeding the World Trade Organization’s predictions.

“What is evident is the resilience of trade even during the pandemic and GVC (global value chain) linkages were seen to positively affect economic recovery. In fact, the better the integration with GVCs, the faster the recovery,” he pointed out. Dr Wijesinghe also asserted that Sri Lanka’s increasingly inward-looking trade policies are a cause for concern. “Sri Lanka is lagging behind compared to countries like Bangladesh which are ahead of us in GVC participation. It matters because correlational studies show that the higher our integration to the market, the higher our income,” he explained.

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