The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper explores the relationship between trade policy and current accounts. The effect on the current account of a change in protection at home and then abroad is analyzed, assuming that the exchange rate floats. The “savings-and-investment approach” is used. It shows that there is no presumption that protection would reduce a deficit. With a fixed exchange rate, the effect on savings and investment is brought about by the reduction in absorption that is required to maintain internal balance when restrictions are imposed. A current account deficit or real appreciation may generate protectionist pressures stimulated by “conservative resistance.”