Natural Resources and Non-Cooperative Trade Policy
Posted: 16 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 14, 2011
When looking at the conditions of trade in natural resources the world appears upside down: tariff protection in natural resources sectors is generally lower than for overall merchandise trade, while export restrictions are twice as likely as in other sectors. On the other hand, tariff escalation is significant in natural resources sectors, where materials in their raw state face, on average, lower duties than in their processed form. In this paper, we discuss how export taxes and tariff escalation may be the result of an uncooperative trade policy. Specifically, tariff escalation and export taxes can be "beggar-thy-neighbor" policies because governments may be tempted to use them to alter the relative price of exports to their advantage (terms-of-trade effect) or to expand the domestic processing industry at the expenses of foreign production (production relocation effect). In equilibrium, these policies offset each other in a Prisoners' Dilemma situation, where trade is inefficiently low.
Keywords: Natural Resources, Export Taxes, Tariff Escalation, Prisoners' Dilemma, WTO
JEL Classification: F13, F59, Q34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation