The Rise of Protectionist Economic Policies: A Response to Populism and Alternative Political Movements

Recently, advanced economies have witnessed a significant shift towards protectionist economic policies. While this is often framed in terms of geopolitical competition, especially involving China, this trend should also be understood as a response to the growing influence of populism and the surge in support for alternative political parties. To grasp this phenomenon, it is essential to examine the underlying causes and the interplay between populist sentiments and economic policy changes.

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Chinese electric vehicles & soft power: situation update


  • Tariff Increase: The Biden administration is set to increase tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) from 25% to potentially 100%, significantly raising the cost of Chinese EVs in the US market​.
  • Geopolitical Strategy: This move aims to curtail China’s dominance in the global EV market and protect the nascent US clean energy sector from a flood of subsidised Chinese imports.
  • Domestic Industrial Policy: The tariffs are part of Biden’s broader strategy to boost American manufacturing, specifically in the EV and clean energy sectors, to ensure national security and economic growth.
  • Labour and Employment: The tariff policy is designed to support American jobs, particularly in the auto industry, resonating with labour unions and blue-collar workers in key battleground states​.
  • Electoral Strategy: With the 2024 presidential election approaching, Biden’s move to raise tariffs helps distinguish his trade policy from that of former President Trump, who has also advocated for high tariffs on Chinese goods​.
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