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Global economy faces protectionism: UN

business Updated: Jan 17, 2012 21:16 IST

Global economy faces a danger of increased trade protectionism, as political will to resist such measures is facing rising pressure, a UN report cautioned on Tuesday.

"...Given the present international economic environment, there is still a danger that more countries will enhance protectionist measures, especially non-tariff measures (NTMs), should political emotions dull the memories of the damaging effects of past...policies," the report said.

The issue of protectionism, particularly by the rich nations, has been often raised by India and other developing countries.

The 'World Economic Situation and Prospects 2012' report by the United Nations said, "political will to resist creeping protectionism appears to be under increasing pressure. Commitments made by G20 (Group of 20 most influential nations) members to roll back restrictions have not been met. In fact, the number of export restrictions has continued to increase."

It said the danger may increase if unemployment rates remain high and the recovery loses further momentum.

In the backdrop of a stalemate in the Doha Round of talks for opening the international trade, the UN report suggested that "smaller" issues should be sorted out first to complete the multi-lateral negotiations under the aegis of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"The most feasible way to conclude the Round would seem to be by agreeing to a smaller package based on what has been agreed upon thus far...," it said.

It said the Doha Round launched in 2001 is at a complete stalemate with practically no prospects of completion owing to "all or nothing" approach of the WTO.