Will Governments Restrict Foreign Access to Pandemic Supplies?
It seems that we may be facing the dangerous prospect of “reverse protectionism,” in which states restrict exports rather than imports, and fight with each other to win control of scarce resources needed to protect their citizens. Just as traditional protectionism deepened the Great Depression, the new protectionism could prolong the Covid-19 pandemic by making it harder for states to fight it, worsening its impact. Even if this doesn’t come to pass, the high level of mutual suspicion currently brewing between states will make it harder to coordinate an international response. Mistrust will reverberate through global supply chains.