Davos turns to trade amid fears of protectionism

January 31, 2009 12:19


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World leaders looking for hope amid recessionary gloom turned their attention Saturday to a long-stalled global trade deal, increasingly seen as a necessary bulwark against the rising threat of protectionism. Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso was also to speak about development aid at the World Economic Forum, where business and political leaders chastened by crisis are seeking ways to fix the financial system amid pleas not to forget the world's poorest. "We're facing two major risks: The first is social unrest. The second is protectionist risks," French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said, stressing the challenges to governments of helping atrophying industries without damaging free trade. The director of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, was to take the stage later at the gathering of more than 2,500 business and political leaders in this elegant Alpine resort.

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