Free Trade Under Fire as Protectionism Surges

November's G-20 agreement is abandoned as nations erect commerce barriers
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2009 8:46 AM CDT
Trucks form a blockade on the Spanish border with France on June 10, 2008, in La Jonquera, Catalonia, Spain.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The global recession has protectionism making a comeback, the New York Times reports, dimming hopes that leaders can create lasting solutions to the crisis at April’s Group of 20 economic summit in London. The last G-20 meeting, held in November, yielded an agreement to promote free trade that was quickly abandoned, with 17 members since adopting 47 measures restricting trade.

Members pledged in November not to adopt new trade barriers for a year, but many have raised import duties or passed stimuli with trade-hindering subsidies. Russia raised tariffs on used cars, India banned Chinese toys and nearly a dozen countries have subsidized auto companies. Just last week, President Obama’s energy secretary suggested raising tariffs on carbon-intensive Chinese goods, setting up another showdown. (Read more free trade stories.)