Some have accused me of being a contrarian. I suppose I am or rather, I have a penchant for challenging authority and in particular, fact-checking statements that appear in the press. I won’t get into something I challenged last week because until I have my facts and research lined up, there is no point in putting forth an argument.
So when I saw this blurb from USA Today, A World Bank report earlier this month also said anti-dumping claims in the second half of 2008 rose more than 55% compared with the first six months of the year, as countries scrambled to prevent trading partners from flooding their markets with under-priced goods, I almost glossed right over it. Wow though, 55%? I suspect that protectionism is on the rise but a 55% increase seems well, really high.
So I took a peak at the United States International Trade Commission site (it’s a great site for those of you who haven’t spent any time there), and lo and behold, I see the skimpiest list of anti-dumping cases I recall seeing since we started writing this blog in December of 2007. If you click on active investigations you will see a list of cases of which five relate to metals. Now, out of the cases open (about a dozen) steel and stainless steel feature prominently. Compare that to the number of cases we reported on fully one year ago and the picture looks quite different. Now take a look at the next tab, completed investigations and you will see a much longer list from 2008 and 2007, consistent with what we reported last year. Granted, we aren’t even half way through 2009 but it doesn’t appear to be as drastic as the World Bank study suggests.
Now I didn’t take the time to comb through the World Bank website to review the study. I suppose the increase came from an analysis of global anti-dumping cases as opposed to American anti-dumping cases. But regardless, no matter which side of the debate one sits on in terms of global trade, rising protectionism etc, there is nothing like a look-see at the actual data.