In a speech given at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy warned that protectionism is a recipe for a global economic slump. Protectionist measures adopted by even one government, Lamy said, could lead to a domino effect of dire consequences.
Lamy noted in his speech that shrinking world trade in 2009 will adversely affect export dependent jobs in both the developed and developing world. Because of this, he expected there to be talk in different countries about “protecting domestic jobs.” Lamy warned that adopting protectionist measures could only aggravate the current crisis. Rather than adopting isolationist trade policies, he suggested countries should instead coordinate their recovery efforts.
Lamy also emphasized the important role the conclusion of the Doha Round would play in reviving the economy, though some academics believe the Doha Round is outdated and should be scrapped. This argument, Lamy said, ignores both the politics of international trade negotiations and the pressing needs of developing countries. He finished the speech by noting that while it is important for WTO members to begin thinking about the future, current priorities have to be addressed and resolved first.
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