World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy, in a speech at Stanford University, said the multilateral trading system has not only opened world commerce but just as important it has brought transparency and predictability to international trade. According to Lamy the debate is no longer about the merits of global regulation, it is about putting in place the right sort of global regulation for the problems of today.
"I am fully aware this may be an unpopular thing to say in the United States but opening trade is a healthy thing to do," Lamy said. "The fact that the country, and the world, face an unsettling period of financial market upheaval and pending economic downturn will make it even more difficult to convince some people that this is true."
Lamy did say that trade opening is not good for everybody in every country, every time under every circumstance, but the evidence is persuasive that trade openness delivers efficiencies and generates wealth.
"If trade opening takes place in the right conditions, all countries can benefit from international exchange," Lamy said. "And here, we must make an important distinction: trade opening is not synonymous with deregulation."