Two international trade organizations, the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and UNCTAD (UN Conference on Trade and Development) released a joint Report (October 26) praising the G20 nations for "continuing to honor their pledge not to retreat into investment protectionism".
Despite the usual tendency for governments to turn to protective measures in times of economic crisis, the report states that the use of protective measures has slowed down. It says that, between April 2010 and October 2011, "most of the few investment policy measures taken during the reporting period represent continued moves towards eliminating restrictions to international capital flows and improving clarity for investors." However, the report does not tackle the question of green protectionism.
Last year, Secretary General of UNCTAD, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, told The Global Journal, that he feared new forms of protectionism would result from the rise of new technologies in response to climate change. "Yet, some countries are using huge subsidies to develop their biofuel industry, like corn for example [...] This has created distortion, increased prices unnecessarily, and this is part of the "green protectionism"."
During a conference on Least Developed Countries in Geneva (November 15), Dr. Panitchpaki explained further to the Global Journal that on the one hand, there has been no decline in protectionism and that subsidies continue to be a common practice. On the other hand, governments tend to use the development of renewable energies as an excuse for maintaining agricultural subsidies. He warned that for some countries, conflict is rising at the WTO (World Trade Organization) regarding support for investing in renewable energies on the grounds it discriminates against those who cannot compete in the renewable energies sector.
But more importantly, he called for the implementation of standards, both for green energies and food security. If such initiatives had been done in the private sector, he is convinced that it could be brought to the multilateral level as well.
The 8th WTO ministerial conference in December will determine wether his advice is heeded.