Business group urges EU to fight protectionism

16:36, 24 February 2009
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Says EU must press countries like Ukraine

Europe`s top business group said on Tuesday that protectionism was growing around the world and could make the global economic crisis still worse, Reuters reported.

BusinessEurope said the 27-nation European Union must press countries like China, Russia, Ukraine and India to reduce the scope of new trade measures which it said violate World Trade Organisation rules or agreements reached by the G20 group of leading economies.

"BusinessEurope is concerned that widespread protectionism will deepen and prolong the economic crisis and therefore urges the European Commission to be proactive in preventing the closing of worldwide markets," the group`s director-general, Philippe de Buck, said.

"The Commission should ... cooperate with major trading partners to avoid beggar-thy-neighbour policies and major regulatory divergences," he wrote to EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton.

The letter listed 20 countries which BusinessEurope said had introduced measures to protect domestic markets against the effects of the global financial crisis.

It said, for example, that Ukraine`s decision to increase tariffs on passenger cars was incompatible with WTO rules.

India`s increase in steel tariffs violated G20 agreements, the group said, as did Russia`s increase in import duty on cars.

China`s restrictions on raw material exports may violate WTO rules, it added.


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