AnglaisCommuniqués de Presse

1000+ Leading Economists, Policy Makers and other Distinguished Persons Call on Governments to Reject Protectionism and Eliminate Trade Barriers

Open letter stresses that free trade promotes prosperity and peace, warns that
protectionism would prolong recession and could lead to war

Paris, Friday, April 3, 2009 – The Freedom to Trade Coalition
( – comprising over 60 civil society organisations from 44
countries – launched an open letter calling on all governments to eliminate trade

Signatories include Nobel Prize winning economist Vernon Smith; former US
Secretary of State George Schultz; former Prime Minister of Estonia Mart Laar MEP;
former Finance Ministers of New Zealand (Ruth Richardson), Chile (Rolf Luders),
Ukraine (Viktor Pynzenyk), and Poland (Leszek Balcerovicz,); former Kremlin chief
economist Andrei Illarionov; Indian businessman and author Gucharan Das; noted
Chinese economists Xia Yeliang (Peking) and Mao Shoulong (Renmin); Alexander
Graf Lamsdorff MEP; and many other eminent economists, philosophers and other
academics. In total, over 2000 people have so far signed the letter, including over
1000 academics.

The letter was also co-signed by the Institut économique Molinari.

Warning of the dangers of resurgent protectionism, the letter observes:

“Protectionism creates poverty, not prosperity. Protectionism doesn’t even
“protect” domestic jobs or industries; it destroys them, by harming export
industries and industries that rely on imports to make their goods. Raising the
local prices of steel by “protecting” local steel companies just raises the cost of
producing cars and the many other goods made with steel. Protectionism is a
fool’s game.”

Moreover, mindful of the tragic consequences of the protectionism of the 1920s and
30s, which contributed to the Great Depression and to the poverty and nationalism
that led to the Second World War, the letter observes that “Protectionism destroys
peace.” By contrast:

“Trade promotes peace … by uniting different peoples in a common culture of
commerce – a daily process of learning others’ languages, social norms, laws,
expectations, wants, and talents … [and] by encouraging people to build
bonds of mutually beneficial cooperation. Just as trade unites the economic
interests of Paris and Lyon, of Boston and Seattle, of Calcutta and Mumbai,
trade also unites the economic interests of Paris and Portland, of Boston and
Berlin, of Calcutta and Copenhagen – of the peoples of all nations who trade
with each other.”

In addition, the Freedom to Trade Coalition has committed itself to monitoring the
actions of governments around the world – and will challenge attempts to institute
protectionist policies.

The open letter is available on Institut économique Molinari’s website below.

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The Institut économique Molinari (IEM) is an independent, non-profit research and
educational organization. Its mission is to promote an economic approach to the
study of public policy issues by offering innovative solutions that foster prosperity
for all.

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Valentin Petkantchin, PhD

Director of Research

Institut économique Molinari

GSM: +33 6 82 69 17 39

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