This paper endeavors to study Spanish protectionism on the Italian mirror. On the assumption that the literature presents both European peripheral countries at a similar stage of development and commercial policy replies to late 19th century economic globalization. Italian tariff policy was much more moderate and influenced by fiscal duties than the Spanish one that enjoined a very high tariffs on the manufacture sector. This paper present by first time a unified data base of effective protection and revealed comparative advantage for both countries and develop a new test based on the infant industry argument. Conclusions emphasize the existence of significant different tariff policies in Spain and Italy between 1870-1930 as a relevant variable in the configuration their respective export manufacture competitiveness and specialization in the long run.