This note addresses the trade policy measures states have taken during the current economic crisis and makes comparison with those taken during the Great Depression. While significant protectionist pressures are evident in both crises, the note finds that WTO Members have largely resisted broad protectionist measures and that the further decline in global trade volume during 2009 cannot be attributed to discretionary trade policies. Given these observations, the note suggests four elements of the multilateral trading system that preserve the system’s integrity and ensure that the WTO passes its most significant stress test yet. Based on these four elements—economic efficiency, transparency, enforceability, and stability—the note recommends normative principles applicable to all regulation of international economic relations.
Journal Article. 9542 words.
Subjects: Financial Law ; Public International Law ; Economics
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