Supply chain resilience and national security: Protectionism under a different name?

Examining the primary arguments behind protectionism as well as their intended and unintended consequences. Panellists discuss recent trends in protectionism, focusing on traditional and new tools.

Research event, Roundtable
29 July 2021 — 2:00PM TO 3:00PM

Under US president Joe Biden, the steel and aluminium tariffs that the Trump administration introduced in the name of national security remain in place.

Moreover, President Biden’s ‘Buy American’ provisions aimed at rebuilding US manufacturing illustrate that protectionist instincts and policies remain ever present.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing US-China strategic competition have led to efforts to increase domestic production of critical products – from pharmaceuticals and PPE to critical minerals and semiconductors. With this focus on resilience and ‘building back better’, industrial policy is in vogue again in the US and Europe.

  • Do these efforts open the door to protectionism?
  • Are climate policies – for instance carbon border adjustments – a Trojan Horse for a new kind of protectionism?
  • What degree of promoting self-sufficiency and protecting national security can be justified without sliding into protectionism?
  • What can be done to rein in protectionism?


Scott Linicome, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Cato Institute; Senior Visiting Lecturer, Duke University Law School

Dr Christine McDaniel, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center; Senior Economist, US Council of Economic Advisers (2005-07)

Chair: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House

Support us

Donate today to help secure our future as the home of independent thinking, or join our international network as a member.

Find out more Auto insert on research events