(Oct. 17, 2008) On October 14, 2008, Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), reported to the WTO General Council on WTO actions in light of the global financial crisis. Lamy noted:
Given the deterioration of the financial landscape, and despite the welcome announcement last week by the World Bank International Finance Corporation of an increase in its trade financing programme by $500 million, I have reconvened major providers of trade finance to a meeting on 12 November to examine this issue [the direct impact of the crisis on developing-country access to financing of imports and exports] and find ways to alleviate the situation if it was to deteriorate. One third of the world economy, mainly in emerging countries, still has a big growth potential and we must try and make sure that this engine can work through trade.
(Lamy Creates WTO Task Force on Financial Crisis, WTO website, Oct. 14, 2008, available at http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news08_e/tnc_chair_report_oct08_e.htm.)
Lamy further declared that he had established a task force within the WTO Secretariat “to follow up the effects of financial crisis on our different areas of work.” Should there be indications that it was “having serious implications more generally for trade or the trading system,” Lamy stated that he would consult with the Chairman of the General Council (currently H.E. Bruce Gosper, of Australia) “on the possibility of convening a General Council meeting” and suggested “we keep the situation under review, and be ready to act as necessary.” (Id.) The General Council is the WTO's highest-level decision-making organ. (The WTO General Council, WTO website, http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/gcounc_e/gcounc_e.htm (last visited Oct. 14, 2008).)