Foreign trade policy

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Under external trade policy refers to all state legal standards and measures in the framework of the foreign trade the free export and import of goods and services relate.


The trade policy as a generic term is a part of the state economic policy and consists of the foreign trade and domestic trade policy . The national goal of domestic trade policy is to create framework conditions for successful economic activity by domestic economic entities ( private households , companies and the state with its subdivisions). The strategy of foreign trade policy can consist, on the one hand, of dismantling trade barriers and promoting free trade , or, on the other hand, using appropriate measures to promote exports from one's own country and / or limit imports from abroad ( protectionism ). Since the Second World War , a more free trade-oriented foreign trade policy has gradually established itself in most countries, but this has been questioned by critics of globalization in recent years .

Foreign trade policy objectives and strategies

Foreign trade policy pursues both economic and social goals.

The two different strategies of free trade and protectionism are also linked to different values. The approach of both schools of thought is that the dismantling of trade barriers leads to a worldwide free circulation of goods and production factors ( labor and capital ).

Representatives of free trade promote this process because, in their opinion, it leads to greater efficiency worldwide than with purely national production of goods. Most free trade-oriented foreign trade theories argue that through free trade it is possible for a country to consume more goods than would be possible under a protectionist system. Supporters of free trade deduce from this that free trade increases welfare and therefore makes economic sense.

Advocates of protectionism see the disadvantage of unrestrained free world trade on both the macro and the micro level: at the branch level, they consider a worldwide distribution of goods production from the point of view of efficiency to be harmful for certain social groups; For example, the relocation of certain industries abroad leads to high unemployment in the domestic sectors concerned. Some economists consider the associated social costs to be higher than the efficiency gains from free trade. Macroeconomic concerns about free trade focus primarily on the additional costs associated with freight transport (e.g. environmental pollution) and the feared outflow of capital to other countries. Another argument in favor of foreign trade protectionism is the government revenue that can be generated from it (e.g. in the form of customs revenue).

In summary, the following target spectrum can be created:

  • economic goals (efficiency vs. capital outflow)
  • Securing social goals
  • Generating government revenue through trade barriers

Foreign trade policy instruments

Foreign trade policy has foreign trade instruments at its disposal to fulfill its tasks . This includes legal norms ( laws , ordinances ), especially in the field of business law . The most important norms here are the Foreign Trade Act (AWG) of September 1961, which regulates the exchange of foreign currency , goods , services , capital and other economic goods with foreign countries. The Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (AWV) issued in September 1961 organizes the implementation of the AWG.

In addition to legal regulations, trade customs and Incoterms also have an impact on foreign trade. According to Art. 9 para. 2 UN Sales Convention , in the absence of any other agreement, the contracting parties tacitly referred in their contract or when it was concluded to usages that they knew or should have known and which in international trade the parties to contracts of this type in are well known in the relevant line of business and are regularly observed by them.

Foreign trade instruments are all government measures that are suitable to promote or limit free trade . They include:

  • Customs : Taxes on exports or imports - mostly in the form of an import duty .
  • Foreign trade subsidies: subsidy payments for exported or imported products; most common case: export subsidy.
  • Foreign trade barrier : quantitative restriction on exports or imports; typical case: import quota .
  • Voluntary foreign trade policy: policy carried out mostly under pressure from other countries (and therefore not voluntarily). A voluntary export restriction or a voluntary import expansion are conceivable here.
  • Local content clauses : State regulation that in order to sell a good domestically, a certain proportion of the value of the product must have been produced domestically.
  • Foreign trade credit subsidies: State-subsidized loans to promote exports or imports, mostly: export credit subsidies.
  • National procurement: The state buys the goods it needs from domestic suppliers (even if there are better or cheaper foreign products) in order to promote the domestic economy
  • Bureaucratic harassment: the state prevents the import of foreign goods by all possible measures not mentioned above; z. B. long approval procedures, restrictive health and environmental regulations etc.

Importance of foreign trade policy

For all industrialized countries, exports and imports are an essential pillar of their economic activity. Therefore, of course, all state interventions in this sector (i.e. foreign trade policy measures) are important economic policy instruments.

However, the importance of national foreign trade policy has gradually declined over the last few decades, as most of the nation states have committed themselves to increasingly curtailing their foreign trade policy instruments through international agreements. The most important agreements in this context are the WTO / GATT and regional agreements such as B. the European Community .

Foreign trade policy and the WTO

The agreements of the countries within the framework of the WTO massively curtail their national freedom of action in the field of foreign trade policy: In particular, their regulations on most-favored nation treatment and national treatment impose clear restrictions on the nation states . With the dispute settlement procedure, the WTO is also the only international institution with an efficient enforcement mechanism that is practically "internally" carried out by independent, court-like arbitration bodies.

Foreign Trade Policy and the European Union

A customs union has been in force within the European Union since 1968 . H. Trade between different Member States must not be hindered by customs duties or import and export restrictions. The hindrances caused by import and export restrictions continued in some cases and could only be enforced through judgments such as the Cassis-de-Dijon decision . A common customs tariff determined by the EU applies to trade with other states, through which a large part of the EU's economic policy is implemented. For this reason the EU is also a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and although all EU members are also independent WTO members , it is the EU that speaks for them. The internal market , which has existed since 1993 , goes beyond the customs union and also creates a uniform tax area and ensures the free movement of people, goods, services and capital.

This means that it is not possible for the EU member states to pursue an independent foreign trade policy - the relevant foreign trade policy actor is therefore the EU.

Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Krishan von Moeller, Market Processes in the Distribution Industry , 1995, p. 47