WTO: 2009 NEWS ITEMS
Secretary General Angel Gurria of OECD, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy and UNCTAD Secretary General Supachai Panitchpakdi said trade rules and investment agreements have acted as a safety harness preventing the adoption of wide-scale protectionist policies. They welcomed the commitment by governments to continue open trade and investment policies while pointing out that world leaders, particularly those in the G-20, bear responsibility for ensuring that trade and international investment function as tools for economic recovery. The global crisis is not over, they said, and rising unemployment will undoubtedly spark further protectionist pressures in the years to come.
“We welcome the G20 governments’ commitment to maintaining open trade and investment regimes and their ability to withstand domestic protectionist pressures. International rules for trade and investment agreements ... are a source of opportunity in times of economic growth and a restraining influence in times of difficulty. It is in this latter role that the rules are serving us particularly well right now,” they said.
Tariffs, non-tariff measures, subsidies and burdensome administrative procedures regarding imports have been applied in recent months and these actions have acted as “sand in the gears of international trade that may retard the global recovery,” they said.
“It is urgent that governments start planning a coordinated exit strategy that will eliminate these elements as soon as possible,” said the heads of the three organizations.
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