Nations worry US trade could turn protectionist
GENEVA (AP) -- The United States' trade partners are worried that any fiscal belt-tightening could make the country more likely to introduce protectionist measures, the head of a World Trade Organization panel said Thursday.
Colombian Ambassador Eduardo Munoz Gomez said some countries fear U.S. financial recovery efforts "could have an adverse impact on trade, including financial support to certain industries, Buy American provisions, and the use of unconventional monetary policies with a consequential impact on exchange rates."
Munoz Gomez, whose panel oversaw the WTO's biennial review of U.S. trade policy, said there also were concerns about "the potential increase in trade transaction costs" because of a push by the U.S., as the world's largest single economy and its largest trader, to require X-ray screening of all U.S.-bound cargo for nuclear devices and other dangerous materials.
Some nations also described U.S. requirements that imports should have a country-of-origin label as "cumbersome, complex, outdated and non-transparent."
But Gomez told reporters at the conclusion of the WTO review this week that the sense among other countries is that the U.S. "maintains a very open trade regime and should be commended for this as well as for its resistance to introduce protectionist measures, even during difficult times."
U.S. Ambassador Michael Punke told the WTO that the government's commitment to avoid protectionism will continue because "the alternative would be a self-defeating spiral of actions that would damage our shared efforts at economic recovery and growth."
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