South America says no to protectionism on meltdown

by Dave

International Herald Tribune

Top South American officials holding an emergency meeting to discuss the world economic crisis decided Monday that protectionist policies adopted throughout the region in past decades would be a serious mistake.

Foreign and finance ministers from Mercosur economic bloc nations also said they would try to forge a coordinated macroeconomic response to buffer South America from the crisis, which has battered the region’s stocks and currencies as investors flee emerging markets.

Officials agreed that protectionist economic policies frequently adopted by individual South American nations in decades past would hurt more than they would help, Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley said.

The worst thing that could happen would be to use this crisis as an excuse to return to the policies we had in the 1960s, to build an old-style protectionism that generates barriers in our economies and only accentuates the crisis,” he told reporters.