The Straits Times
Published on Dec 20, 2012

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 Organisation panel said on Thursday.

Colombian Ambassador Eduardo Munoz Gomez said some countries fear US 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 US-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nations also described U.S. requirements that imports should have a country-of-origin label as "cumbersome, complex, outdated and non-transparent."