In The Press
Protectionism by G20 members (letter to the Editor of The Telegraph)
30 March 2009
Protectionism by G20 members will hurt developing countries most
SIR – The alternative to free trade is protectionism, which is a recipe for further contraction of the global economy ("Here's a slogan for the G20 mob: 'What do we want? Free trade!'", Boris Johnson, Comment, March 24).
Anti-capitalist protesters should be careful what they wish for. The World Trade Organisation has forecast that global trade is set to fall by 9 per cent this year – its biggest drop since the end of the Second World War.
While the G20 committed itself to combating protectionism in its communiqué last November, there have been worrying signs that the rhetoric has not been matched by the reality. A World Bank report claims that 17 of the G20 countries have already enacted protectionist measures of one form or another.
Further declines in trade will hurt not only the developed economies but will have a particularly damaging effect on developing economies.
The London summit must back a commitment to open trade with a practical route map to achieve it, supported by a monitoring mechanism on breaches of protectionism.
Free trade may not be perfect but it is a lot better than the alternative.
Sir John Grant
Business for New Europe