Protection Without Discrimination

Vincent Rebeyrol


This paper shows that non-tariff measures may fully respect the non-discrimination principle of the World Trade Organisation and still act as a protectionist device. Non-tariff measures that raise costs of all firms induce some exit, reallocating market shares towards the most efficient firms. The paper analyses when this mechanism generates protectionism. With political economy motives, trade liberalisation increases the use of non-tariff measures in the non-cooperative equilibrium and a trade agreement may be welfare reducing if governments care about the most efficient firms only. Moreover, a Pareto improving agreement may require an income redistribution between countries if firm average productivity differs across countries.

Codes JEL

  • F02: International Economic Order
  • F12: Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies • Fragmentation
  • F13: Trade Policy • International Trade Organizations


Vincent Rebeyrol, « Protection Without Discrimination », The Economic Journal, vol. 133, n° 655, octobre 2023, p. 2807–2827.

Publié dans

The Economic Journal, vol. 133, n° 655, octobre 2023, p. 2807–2827