On Nov. 12, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy will convene the providers of trade finance to the WTO to discuss availability and affordability of finance for exports and imports and examine measures that should be considered to restore confidence in the market and in trade. But before that meeting Lamy has sounded the warning bell. During comments made to a Geneva Shipping and Trading Association meeting, Lamy described the present world trade situation as being in chaos.
Lamy told the group that we have gone from a world that just a few months ago was talking about a food crisis, to a world where food prices have fallen by 20%. That's 10% below last year's prices. He says we have seen international trade suffer a serious blow. One, incidentally, which we have yet to fully quantify; with ships leaving ports without cargo, and others anchoring-in, in anticipation of better times.
Lamy says protectionist forces are rearing their heads, demanding governmental assistance, and demanding that domestic markets be shut to foreigners. In other words, we are hearing calls for less competition. Lamy disagrees saying we need better global governance through regulation. What is desperately needed is to restore trust in markets by reassuring investors that they are still operating within a rules-based international trade and financial system.