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It has been the stated policy of most First World countries to abolish protectionism through free trade policies imposed by international treaties and organizations such as the World Trade Organization, since the end of World War II. First World countries’ specific trade policies for example the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union, age-old agricultural subsidies and recommended “Buy American” provisions in economic rescue packages in the United Stateshave been criticized as protectionist by economists.
The Heads of the G20 meeting held in London on 2 April 2009 vowed “We will not repeat the historic mistakes of protectionism of previous eras”. The Global Trade Alert monitors the adherence to this pledge, providing the latest information and up to date interpretation to help make certain that the G20 pledge is met by maintaining confidence in the world trading system, deterring beggar-thy-neighbor acts, and protecting the contribution that exports could play in the future revival of the world economy.
Out of these 20 countries 17 were reported by the World Bank as having imposed trade restrictive measures since then, although they were reiterating what they had already committed to, last November in Washington. As the global economic slowdown begins to bite, The World Bank says most of the world’s major economies are resorting to protectionist measures. Economists who have scrutinized the effect of new trade-restrictive actions using detailed bilaterally monthly trade statistics approximated that new measures taken through late 2009 were distorting global merchandise trade by 0.25% to 0.5% (about $50 billion a year).

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