Chinese factory workers Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

La amenaza proteccionista no es real

BRUSELAS – La mayoría de los análisis de la globalización en años recientes han hecho hincapié en sus problemas, por ejemplo, la disminución del comercio internacional y el abandono de los tratados “megarregionales”. De hecho, el presidente estadounidense Donald Trump acaba de poner punto final al Acuerdo Transpacífico (ATP), que debía reunir a una docena de países de la cuenca del Pacífico, entre ellos Estados Unidos y Japón; y las negociaciones para la Asociación Transatlántica de Comercio e Inversión (ATCI) entre Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea están paralizadas.

Pero los titulares de prensa pueden ser engañosos. Aunque la firma de nuevos tratados comerciales todavía genere controversia, es sumamente improbable que triunfe el proteccionismo. Esto vale incluso para Estados Unidos, donde Trump fue electo con la promesa de adoptar una actitud más firme hacia grandes socios comerciales como México y China. Pero hasta ahora, su gobierno no tomó ninguna medida que sugiera la inminencia de una nueva era de proteccionismo. Y en Europa, hay consenso respecto de los beneficios de la apertura económica, y se está negociando un tratado de libre comercio con Japón.

La mayoría de los países desarrollados conservan bastante apertura económica, y es probable que esto siga así. Para que se diera una nueva oleada de apoyo a las políticas proteccionistas se necesitaría que una coalición de grupos de intereses poderosos organice una campaña dirigida a cambiar el statu quo. Hoy que la media de los aranceles está en niveles insignificantes (por debajo del 3% tanto en Estados Unidos cuanto en la UE); ¿quién podría ser promotor de un aumento de las barreras comerciales?

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