Nature and Importance of Trade in Invisibles

  • Brian Griffiths
Part of the Trade Policy Research Centre book series


One of the earliest contributions to the study of non-tariff barriers to visible trade was a book entitled The Invisible Tariff.1 The term “non-tariff barriers”, now in common usage, refers to policies and practices which either by design or accident protect or favour domestic producers vis-à-vis foreign suppliers — at the expense of domestic consumers and taxpayers. Some of them are not barriers, but serve instead to encourage exports, which is why economic purists prefer the term “non-tariff distortions” or “non-tariff interventions”.2 But this is by the way. The barriers to, or constraints on, international trade in what are called “invisibles” are of a non-tariff character. The temptation to call this volume Invisible Barriers to Invisible Trade was thus too great.


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  1. 1.
    Percy Bidwell, The Invisible Tariff ( New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1939 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Geoffrey Denton and Seamus O’Cleireacain, Subsidy Issues in International Commerce, Thames Essay No. 5 (London: Trade Policy Research Centre, 1972 ), pp. 2–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Trade Policy Research Centre 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Griffiths

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