July 26, 2012 (LBO)- Sri Lanka can further improve its business climate to propel growth, attract more investors while freeing trade could ease also soften the impact of a Eurozone crisis, a diplomat has said. British high commissioner (ambassador) John Rankin, told an annual meeting of Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce that greater protectionism could threaten trade and investment, a driver of growth amid a global economic slowdown.
“As economies across the world further tighten, the risk of greater protectionism will pose threats, to the trade and investment that drives our economic growth,” Rankin said.
The Great Depression was prolonged due to tit-for-tat protectionism that stopped the free exchange of goods between citizens of different nations.
It was British activists in the liberal tradition who promoted free trade, defeating Mercantilist values of restricted trade, high taxes on foods, slavery and imperialism which were also practised by the British East India and Company and its earlier Dutch version even in Sri Lanka.
The Anti-Corn Law League of Richard Cobden, John Bright and George Wilson ended the grip of farmers, land owners and the elected ruling class on people’s hun