Government support in industrial sectors: a synthesis report
Industrial subsidies take on a growing importance in trade discussions. Yet assessing the scope and scale of government interventions in manufacturing remains notoriously difficult due to a persistent lack of reliable and comparable data. With many governments failing to provide sufficient information, attention has increasingly turned to firm-level data as a possible alternative for measuring industrial subsidies. Using this approach, recent OECD work has identified and quantified government support across key industrial sectors and policy instruments. The results show that: (i) the type of support received by firms can differ greatly across sectors; (ii) state enterprises obtain relatively more support and can serve as providers of support to other firms; and (iii) the complexity of supply chains implies that it can be hard to identify the ultimate beneficiaries of government support. These findings have important policy implications in the context of discussions at the WTO and elsewhere as they provide indications as to the possible nature of gaps in trade rules.