EU trade commissioner issues "protectionist" warning
Governments should avoid "protectionist policies," since open markets are the best way of weathering the economic crisis, European Union Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said Tuesday, reported dpa.
"We all know that protectionism makes recovery harder. But sometimes in the face of crisis, we risk throwing away what we know," Ashton said in an address to a conference on globalization in Brussels.
Instead of isolating themselves or seeking to blame others, governments in both the developed and emerging worlds should bear in mind that openness "is the most effective way to achieve our broad economic, social and indeed political goals."
This also means avoiding an excessive use of public subsidies, which "while attractive today, will damage us tomorrow."
The commissioner further stressed the need to re-start stalled talks on a global trade deal and to bring down new barriers to trade by improving economic cooperation between Europe, the United States, China and Japan.
EU leaders are set to hold crisis talks in Brussels on November 7 to forge a united front on how to tackle the global financial crisis and the economic slowdown ahead of a world summit taking place in Washington a week later.
Europe's carmakers have already started piling pressure on governments to grant them subsidies following a similar initiative carried out in the United States.
Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed setting up a "strategic investment fund" to defend French companies from foreign "predators."