G20 MUST ACT NOW TO STOP ESCALATING PROTECTIONISM
IPN Press release
Alec van Gelder (IPN, London): +44 779 661 6424
Tom Palmer (Atlas, Pittsburgh) +1 202 413 2720
London and Pittsburgh – The global Freedom to Trade Campaign today challenges G20 leaders convening in Pittsburgh to focus on the biggest threat to economic recovery and long-term prosperity: escalating protectionism.
In November 2008, the G20 recognised that freedom to trade is essential to the global recovery, pledging to “refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services” for 12 months. Yet, since then all 20 nations have broken this promise, on average, once every three days.
President Obama recently imposed a 35% tariff on tires from China. This has already resulted in proposed retaliatory restrictions on imports of car parts and chickens. Such tit-for-tat measures benefit narrow vested interests but harm most consumers and producers in America, China, and the rest of the world.
Alec van Gelder, of International Policy Network, points out:
“If any G20 nation attempted to ban containerised shipping or broadband Internet, they would be ridiculed. Yet equally harmful trade barriers – including tariffs and subsidies – are being passed in every G20 country. These policies inhibit trade and delay recovery.
In Pittsburgh, the G20 should focus on removing these barriers to trade and investment - not attempt to come up with a central plan for global finance or global climate.”
Tom Palmer of the Atlas Global Initiative concluded:
“The fragile green shoots of recovery could be killed by rising trade barriers around the world - in spite of G20 promises to refrain from protectionism.
Unless the G20 meeting reverses the escalating political disputes among its Members, the meeting will be a complete failure.”
The Freedom to Trade Campaign (www.freedomtotrade.org) is a coalition of 76 think tanks and civil society organizations in 48 countries, which supports free trade and opposes protectionism in all its guises. It was co-founded by International Policy Network and the Atlas Global Initiative for Free Trade, Peace and Prosperity.
G-20 leaders need crash course on global economy, by Daniel Ikenson and Alec van Gelder, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September
The G20 “Declaration” on 15 November, 2008