Executive Briefings

WTO Talks Collapse, But Most of World Still Supports International Trade, Says Pew Research Center

This summer saw the collapse of the Doha round of trade liberalization talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Still, support for trade remains strong in many parts of the world, "at least in general terms." So says the Global Attitudes Project of the Pew Research Center. Its 2008 survey found majorities in all 24 nations surveyed in support of increased international trade and economic integration. That was true even in the U.S., where public support for trade continues to decline. According to Pew, 53 percent of Americans now say that trade is good for their country, down from 59 percent last year and 78 percent in 2002. "Support for trade is lower in the U.S. than in any other country included in the survey," Pew says. In fact, the period between 2002 and 2008 has generally been marked by decreases in enthusiasm for trade, but when the U.S. is subtracted from the equation, the result is somewhat more positive. People in many other countries, including Poland, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, have grown slightly more supportive of trade. Other countries where support has eroded include Mexico, Jordan, Turkey and Argentina. Feelings grow more negative when the scenario is personal; Pew says people seem less enthusiastic about increasing trade when it has a direct impact on them and their families. Some of the concern appears to stem from worries about the safety of products from China. "Relatively few believe products made in China are as safe as those made elsewhere," Pew says.

Visit www.pewglobal.org

This summer saw the collapse of the Doha round of trade liberalization talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Still, support for trade remains strong in many parts of the world, "at least in general terms." So says the Global Attitudes Project of the Pew Research Center. Its 2008 survey found majorities in all 24 nations surveyed in support of increased international trade and economic integration. That was true even in the U.S., where public support for trade continues to decline. According to Pew, 53 percent of Americans now say that trade is good for their country, down from 59 percent last year and 78 percent in 2002. "Support for trade is lower in the U.S. than in any other country included in the survey," Pew says. In fact, the period between 2002 and 2008 has generally been marked by decreases in enthusiasm for trade, but when the U.S. is subtracted from the equation, the result is somewhat more positive. People in many other countries, including Poland, Spain, Brazil and Nigeria, have grown slightly more supportive of trade. Other countries where support has eroded include Mexico, Jordan, Turkey and Argentina. Feelings grow more negative when the scenario is personal; Pew says people seem less enthusiastic about increasing trade when it has a direct impact on them and their families. Some of the concern appears to stem from worries about the safety of products from China. "Relatively few believe products made in China are as safe as those made elsewhere," Pew says.

Visit www.pewglobal.org