Tuesday, March 24, 2009
WTO economists predicted this week that trade will decline by 9% worldwide in 2009, raising additional fears about increasing numbers of protectionist measures that could be contrary to the letter and spirit of the WTO Agreements.
The WTO Council on Trade in Goods also met this week and took several actions. It approved long-standing waiver requests from the U.S. for various trade preference programs intended to assist developing countries. The U.S. requested waivers for the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). Several less developed nations commented on how important these programs are for their development, especially with respect to job creation and helping to create a stable investment climate. The Council will now forward its recommendation that the waivers be approved to the General Council. The Council also appointed chairpersons for its various subcomittees and took notice of seven regional free trade agreements that had been notified to it, including two by the United States - one with Peru and the other with Oman.