As world leaders grapple with differences on how to overcome the economic crisis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the industrialised nations not to “repeat past mistakes” of resorting to protectionism and favoured sharing information and bringing tax havens and non-cooperating jurisdictions under close scrutiny.“An issue of vital concern to developing countries is the rise of protectionist sentiment in the industrialised world. This phenomenon is not surprising, given the downturn in economic activity and the rise in unemployment,” Singh said in his remarks at the official dinner hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to leaders of the G-20 summit in London on Wednesday night.
“However, it will be a test of leadership whether we can persuade the public that we must not repeat past mistakes. We know that the Great Depression was as deep and prolonged as it was because countries resorted to protectionism which triggered protectionary responses, leading to a downward spiral,” the Prime Minister said.
Asserting that the leaders of the developing countries have struggled to overcome the doubts and fears of their public to persuade them on the merits of integrating with the global economy, Singh said “these hard won gains will be destroyed if industrial country markets are not not kept open in these difficult times.”