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Economic Protectionism
Within the past two years, a recession has taken hold over the global economy. With the developed
world leading the way, the failures of the global financial system have spread, impacting the poorest
nations the most. As a consequence of the economic recession, countries feel the need to protect
themselves from further crises by practice economic protectionism. However, as a country that was
able to thrive to due to an open trade policy, Singapore believes that these economic policies will
only serve to damage the system further. As we slowly emerge from the worst economic catastrophe
since the Great Depression, it is important to avoid practices that will inhibit economic prosperity by
undermining opportunities for financial growth. Singapore understands the need for trade regulation
to aid the growth of the domestic economy, we believe that the consequences of economic
protectionism are too great to support the widespread implementation of isolationist and protectionist
When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, we were a nation without an economy. Now, we
proudly stand as the country with the 8th largest gross domestic product per capita, ahead of many
developed nations. Our economic growth was largely a result of the Economic Development Board, a
committee set up to ensure economic growth through prominence on the global scale. Open trade
policies as well as incentive for financial investment have allowed Singapore to rise from poverty to
prosperity. Had nations implemented protectionist trade programs, Singapore would not have entered
the first world. Similarly, if the countries of the world try to prevent the spread of financial hardship
by limiting foreign trade, the poorest nations are the ones that will suffer. Specifically, the nations of
Africa and Central Asia would further plunge into destitution. From a purely economic standpoint,
allowing this to happen is irresponsible. Third world nations have the potential to become major
players on the global scene, and the use of protectionist policies would only serve to impede the
growth of these nations.
It is important to note that while nations see economic protectionism as a way to prevent the spread
of financial meltdown, tariffs and other such policies can harm the world as it pulls itself out of a
crisis. Historical precedent tells us that protectionist actions like the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs Act of
1930 served to destroy trade and create further economic problems. The crisis of 2008 has already
harmed international markets, with both imports and exports falling in economic powerhouses like
the United States, India and China. The interwoven global economic fabric is such that placing
barriers on world trade would only serve to harm domestic recovery efforts both in nations
implementing tariffs and those that do not.
As such, Singapore supports the United Nation’s negative stance on protectionism. Though financial
reform in individual countries may require some trade regulation in order to stimulate domestic
economies, the United Nations must support the increase of trade between nations. The crisis of 2008
greatly reduced international trade, and the growth required to pull the world out of the recession
must rely on the existing economic fabric. Furthermore, Singapore supports the efforts of the G20
nations to prevent a rise in protectionist policies and believes that these nations must lead the way in
the United Nations as well. Developed nations must lead the way in halting the use of trade barriers.
Despite the desire to protect one’s country against future economic problems, protectionist policies
will aggravate the financial meltdown. Preventing further crises required domestic financial
regulation and protectionism has no place in such a solution. To aid the development of poor nations
and to bring the world to its previous economic prosperity, the United Nations must avoid economic