With the sharp contraction of economic activity in the wake of the global financial crisis that started in 2007, many have worried that governments around the world would resort to protectionism in a desperate attempt to mitigate the effects of the recession on their domestic economies. However, the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s 2009 assessment suggests that new protectionist measures affect a maximum of 1% of world trade in goods and services, while between November 2009 and May 2010, only 0.4% of trade was impacted by additional import restricting measures. In this article, we assess the importance of trade policy in crisis management and resolution by presenting case studies on past financial and economic crises and we investigate the main reasons for the absence of protectionism in the wake of the latest financial crisis.