Sharing concerns of India and other developing countries, the World Trade Organisation on Thursday said protectionism is major concern and expressed confidence that a deal on opening the world trade further is possible this year.
"We need to remain vigilant. With unemployment remaining high, protectionist pressures remain a worry," WTO Director General Pascal Lamy told PTI in Davos.
His comments incidentally coincide with US President Barak Obama's heightening the pitch to protect American jobs in the wake of employment losses due to outsourcing to developing countries such as India. Obama said it was time to end tax breaks to American firms that outsource jobs overseas, while helping those which create employment within the US.
Lamy said the international trade body will continue to keep a close watch on protectionist measures that impede international free trade. "We at the WTO secretariat will continue monitoring these developments through 2010," he said.
India and several emerging economies like Brazil have raised concern over the protectionist measures in the West, especially after the global financial crisis.
The stance against protectionism got support from South Korea with its President Lee Myung-bak saying that "G-20 summit had played a pivotal role in resisting protectionist pressures and we need to reaffirm the importance of continuing our stance against protectionism".
Concluding the Doha development agenda before the end of the year should be given the highest priority.