“In times of economic crisis, governments face pressure to adopt measures which may restrict trade and there are real dangers that such pressures, if not addressed adequately, can lead to a dangerous escalation. Contingency measures can act as a safety valve in such instances and can play an important role in maintaining a rule-based system of multilateral trade. These are the conclusions of World Trade Organization economists in a report on contingency measures in the WTO’s 2009 World Trade Report, Trade Policy Commitments and Contingency Measures. This year’s Report examines the range of measures in WTO trade agreements that governments may call upon when facing economic difficulties (such as safeguards, anti-dumping, increase in tariffs up to allowed WTO ceilings etc) and the role that these measures can play. Trade growth will be strongly negative this year. Although this contraction appears to be slowing, the economic situation remains fragile. Continuing downside risks led WTO economists to revise further downward its forecast for 2009 world merchandise trade from a decline in volume of 9 per cent to a decline of 10 per cent. The response of governments around the world will play a big part in determining the magnitude of this decline and its duration.”
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