Varieties of pROTECTIONISM:
Neoliberal reform in the arab world
Despite decades of international pressure, Arab regimes' adoption of trade liberalizing policies has been varied, selective, and often ineffective; neoliberal trade policies have not deepened international trade in many Arab markets. This book explains why.
Varieties of Protectionism argues that geopolitics and social connections between state and capital shape the Arab world's uneven trade policies. When regimes have strong support from global powers like the United States (US) or the European Union (EU) and strong social connections to industrialists, they engage in extensive but deceptive trade policy reform: Behind an edifice of liberalizing trade policies, illicit forms of protectionism like tax evasion, insider information, and uncompetitive procurement shield the socially connected from international competition. Industrialists opposed to trade liberalization are less trustful of regime promises of these illicit or neopatrimonial varieties of protectionism when they have weak social connections to their regime and their regime has weak support from foreign powers. These opponents are more likely to mobilize for the continuation of protectionist policies under these conditions, resulting in less trade policy reform. International and domestic factors interact to forge the Arab world's trade policy landscape.