Between 2008 and 2018 the major world economies have significantly increased protectionist measures and the most significant impulse is due to the new policy of the USA. We are witnessing a formal and substantial override of WTO rules and, more generally, the perception is conveyed that the WTO rules do not bind the United States and that there is a recovery of sovereignty on these issues. From the economic point of view, the article focus on the short-run effects of the tariffs: spikes in consumer as well as producer prices and higher profit margins for domestic producers. The washing machine industry provides a flavour of the costs that consumers have to pay in order to finance a new job in the protected industry. Economists compute a cost on US consumers of about USD 1.5 billion, i.e. about USD 820000 per additional job.