Taiwan joined 24 other WTO member countries on Thursday to launch an initiative against growing trade protectionism.
Led by Australia, 25 WTO economies, including the US, Japan and members of the EU, pledged at the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to fight the spread of protectionism amid the current global economic downturn.
Australian Minister for Trade Craig Emerson said the conference was the last opportunity this year for members to reaffirm the WTO’s vital role in governing global trade.
Emerson said this year’s meeting comes at a time of global economic volatility, making it imperative that WTO members unlock stalled negotiations in the Doha Round on trade liberalization.
He urged all WTO members to follow Australia’s commitment to resisting protectionism and to jointly deliver a strong public anti-protectionism message.
Mexican Secretary of the Economy Bruno Ferrari said his country supports the commitment and that it would not adopt protectionist policies or measures.
However, Ferrari said some of the G20 economies have yet to make a commitment to the anti-protectionism initiative.
Lin Yi-fu (林義夫), Taiwan’s permanent representative to the WTO, said protectionism is detrimental to the economic development of the entire world. He called for all members to exercise self-restraint and refrain from taking any protectionist measures.
The other countries and areas joining the initiative include Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia, among others.