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Showing posts from March 30, 2009

Missing in action on the trade front

Business Times - 31 Mar 2009




Suffering 'hegemonic fatigue', Washington seems unwilling to pay the economic and political costs of promoting free trade

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

THE leaders of the 20 economies who met in Washington last November made a commitment to resist taking protectionist measures that could end up devastating an already ailing global economy.

But according to the recent World Bank report, most of these governments, including the US and China, have violated that promise by imposing direct and indirect restrictions on imports, raising the spectre of a costly trade war.

As it is, global trade has suffered the sharpest decline in 80 years. Indeed, not a day goes by without new reports about governments around the world making subtle moves (subsidies and bailouts for failing industries) and taking not-so-subtle steps (direct tariffs and taxes on imports) to 'protect' their frail domestic industries from foreign competition.

Hence, the US and…