The launching of new multilateral trade negotiations requires protectionism by different countries to be measured as precisely as possible. However, trade policy employs complex instruments, whose nature varies strongly, and which can lead to divergent assessments, making it very difficult for overall protectionism to be measured. New forms of assessment, which seek to measure the overall economic impact of protectionism, and which are based on examining the distortions induced by trade policies, provide an interesting approach to trade analysis. They generally put more traditional measures of protectionism, such as customs duties or the frequency of non-tariff barriers, into a more relative perspective.
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