World trade volumes are expected to shrink by as much as 13% this year, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) says.
Government actions discriminating against foreign goods, services, firms or workers could have devastating effects as they could prolong and deepen the recession, adds the OECD.
Governments should therefore avoid protectionist measures and keep markets open to allow economies to benefit from recovery when it comes, according to an OECD statement.
With more protectionist measures, exporters would be hurt twice: through higher costs and through retaliation from other countries. This could lead to even bigger job losses, it warns.
As domestic industries would face higher input costs, consumers would be hurt by higher prices and a reduced choice.
The OECD has issued a publication entitled International Trade: Free, Fair And Open? that seeks to explain the role of trade in contributing to economic growth and job creation.