Freedom to Trade Coalition

3 April 2009

1000+ Leading Economists, Policy Makers and other Distinguished Persons Call
on Governments to Reject Protectionism and Eliminate Trade Barriers
Open letter stresses free trade promotes prosperity and peace, warns that
protectionism prolongs recession and could lead to war
Freedom to Trade Coalition holds G20 to Account
Hong Kong, 3 April 2009 – The Freedom to Trade Coalition, comprising over 60 civil
society organisations from 44 countries, launched an open letter calling on all
governments to eliminate trade barriers.
Signatories include Nobel Prize winning economist Vernon Smith; former US
Secretary of State George Schultz; former Prime Minister of Estonia Mart Laar MEP;
former Finance Ministers of New Zealand, Chile, Ukraine, and Poland; former
Kremlin chief economist Andrei Illarionov; noted Chinese economists Xia Yeliang
(Peking) and Mao Shoulong (Renmin; Alexander Graf Lamsdorff MEP; and many
other eminent economists, philosophers and other academics. In total, over 2000
people have so far signed the letter, including over 1000 academics and the total is
Peter Wong, the Executive Director of The Lion Rock Institute, signed the petition
while promoting it in Hong Kong adding, “I am thankful for the coalition –
protectionism creates poverty and while never a good direction for any country, it
is the worst policy any government could adopt right now.”
Moreover, mindful of the tragic consequences of the protectionism of the 1920s
and 30s, which contributed to the Great Depression and to the poverty and
nationalism that led to the Second World War, the letter observes that
“Protectionism destroys peace.” 
By contrast:
“Trade promotes peace … by uniting different peoples in a common culture
of commerce – a daily process of learning others’ languages, social norms,
laws, expectations, wants, and talents … [and] by encouraging people to
build bonds of mutually beneficial cooperation. Just as trade unites the
economic interests of Paris and Lyon, of Boston and Seattle, of Calcutta and
Mumbai, trade also unites the economic interests of Paris and Portland, of
Boston and Berlin, of Calcutta and Copenhagen – of the peoples of all
nations who trade with each other.”
The open letter is available at which features
news stories, exclusive webcasts, and statements by signatories.
The Freedom to Trade Coalition has committed itself to monitoring the actions of
governments around the world – and will challenge attempts to institute
protectionist policies.
Related Media Coverage: REUTERS Top economists urge G20 to embrace free trade



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