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It was in 1860 that free trade made a real breakthrough in continental Europe with the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty signed by Napoleon III.It was followed by other agreements signed between France and many other European countries: the Franco-Belgian treaty was signed in 1861 and between 18 almost all European countries joined the Cobden treaty.He notes that:"in history, free trade is the exception and protectionism the rule ".The Third World has suffered from the free trade imposed by the Western powers.And it was the countries that had returned to protectionism that mainly benefited from the economic recovery: during the protectionist phase (after 1892), GNP growth was 1.5% in Mainland Europe , while in the United Kingdom, which continued free trade, the rate reached about 0.7%.In all countries except Italy, and regardless of the date of policy review, the adoption of protectionist measures (after 1892) was followed by a sharp acceleration in growth in the first ten years; in the following decade, which is the decade of increased protection, there was a further acceleration in growth.
India, for example, a British colony, has seen a highly developed textile craft industry disappear because of the trade imposed by Britain.
Paul Bairoch notes in Myths and Paradoxes of Economic History that the Great European Depression began around 1870-1872 at the height of free trade in Europe between 18 and ended with the return to protectionism around 1892: "The important point is not only that the crisis started at the height of free trade, but that it ended around 1892-1894, just as the return to protectionism became effective in continental Europe"[...] "It is almost certain that free trade coincided with the depression for which it was probably the cause, while protectionism was probably at the origin of growth and development in most of the current developed countries".
He also notes that it was when all countries were strengthening protectionism that the growth rate reached its highest level in continental Europe: indeed, GNP growth rose from 1.1%/year in the years 1850-1870 (protectionist period) to 0.2%/year in the years 1870-1890 (free trade period).
He brought Flemish weavers, centralized the raw wool trade and banned the importation of wool fabrics.
The Tudor monarchs, particularly Henry VII (1485-1509), transformed England from a raw wool exporter into the world's largest wool manufacturing nation, through tariff (A Plan of the English Commerce, Daniel Defoe).