October 8, 2008
Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization, has been invited as a keynote speaker in the EBS workshop entitled “Protectionism: an increasing concern?”.
In his keynote address to the WTO Public Forum on 24 September 2008, he explicitly warned against possible surges in protectionism that the global financial crisis could bring about.
Referring to the Great Depression of the 1930s, Lamy said that “moves towards protectionism helped to deepen economic problems, and ultimately was one of the factors behind the second world war”. He stated that the 153 WTO’s members had learned their lesson : “protectionism and economic isolationism do not work!”
According to him, it is the lowering of tariffs and others barriers to trade that will help dealing with the current financial crisis. Besides this, the WTO members had entered into binding commitments not to go it alone even if they were finding it difficult to conclude the current Doha round of trade liberalization talks.