Free trade not without cost
Is the concept of free trade outmoded? Well, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that free trade is being seen, increasingly, as a tool that benefits the affluent, cautioning that help is needed for people whose job prospects have been damaged by globalisation so that a fresh case can be made for removing the barriers to international commerce.
In advance of its annual meeting in October, the IMF released a statement from the half-yearly World Economic Outlook study, in which it spotlights weaknesses in the global economy as being largely responsible for the stalling of trade growth over the past few years.
It also acknowledged that protectionist measures in the wake of the financial crisis had ‘not been innocuous’ and advised that anti-trade feelings could harden further, given the current climate.