Protectionist measures by the world’s leading economies are hindering the implementation of global trade rules set up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a senior Brazil official said.

Brazil’s Strategic Affairs Minister Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraestold Reuters on the sidelines of the Global Political Forum in the Russian city of Yaroslavl that WTO rules were effectively on hold for now. “They (developed countries) gave all kinds of subsidies to their banks, they rescued their companies. They cannot talk about the rules of the WTO anymore with anyone,” he added.

The Group of 20 emerging and advanced economies, which includes Brazil, endorsed a proposal not to adopt protectionist measures at the Pittsburgh summit in September 2009. However, in practice many countries introduced such measures.

“The rules are to a certain extent suspended because the countries have national programmes to support their economies, trying to keep jobs,” Guimaraessaid. He declined to forecast how long this situation may last. He said developing countries wanted to change some of the WTO rules that hampered their development.

“There is a recognition (among developing countries) that some of these rules are the impediment to developing countries. If they were (the rules) applied to Britain some time ago it would never have developed,” he said. (Reuters)