WTO Panel Warned of Protectionism Threat


Edward J. Cody
The Washington Post
February 12, 2009

The director-general of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, called Monday for a freer flow of trade information to help guard against protectionism as governments struggle to overcome the global economic crisis.

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Lamy, addressing the WTO’s new Trade Policy Review Body in Geneva, gave voice to rising fears, particularly among poor nations, that governments might succumb to pressure to restrict imports or subsidize home industries in the face of financial instability and economic troubles that have spread around the world since the Wall Street banking turmoil erupted last September.

Lamy said protectionist steps have been noted by the review body, but added that “the situation is, broadly speaking, under control.” He singled out President Obama and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for resisting what he described as protectionist pressures from industry and legislators.

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