WTO warns against protectionism

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The Independent Online
The World Trade Organisation is seeking to head off potential protectionist measures among developed economies in response to cheaper Asian imports, Renato Ruggiero, director general, said yesterday.

Mr Ruggiero said weakness in the Yen and other Asian currencies was starting to have an impact on world trade because Asian imports were cheaper than goods produced in developed countries. "I would say we are starting to see the negative effects of Asia's economic crisis showing up on trade only now," he said at a conference in Cernobbio, Italy. The positive thing is that we haven't seen any protectionist trade measures yet. We are watching carefully to see that there are none."

Ruggiero said the Asian economic crisis could worsen further if "the Japanese economy doesn't change direction and if China were to devalue its currency. If that were to happen, ramifications for developed economies could be even worse."