G8 to reject protectionism, call for ‘rapid’ end to Doha talks

L’AQUILA, Italy - Group of Eight (G8) leaders are to reject protectionism and call for a ‘rapid, ambitious, balanced and comprehensive’ conclusion to the stalled Doha round of talks on world trade, according to the summit’s latest draft conclusions.

By (DPA)

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Published: Wed 8 Jul 2009, 6:23 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:42 AM

The draft declaration for the annual G8 summit, running from Wednesday to Friday in the Italian town of L’Aquila, sets the basis for discussions among G8 leaders.

Leaders are also set to express concern at the persistent ‘uncertainty’ and ‘significant risks’ to the stability of financial markets and the global economy, according to an Italian-language draft seen by the German Press Agency dpa.

The summit takes place amid the worst global downturn in decades and forecasts from the World Trade Organization (WTO) that global trade will drop by 10 per cent in 2009 compared with last year.

On Tuesday, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy urged the G8 to fight protectionism and complete the Doha Development Round of trade talks, launched in Qatar in 2001, by the end of next year.

The talks have been bogged down over differences between developed and developing nations on market access, subsidies and tariffs.

The European Union on Wednesday echoed Lamy’s call for a 2010 deadline, with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso describing the target as ‘realistic.’

‘I hope we can make progress towards a balanced and successful conclusion of the Doha development agenda. A clearly defined timetable for this will be essential. For me, this means 2010,’ said Barroso before attending Wednesday’s talks with G8 leaders.

‘We need a swift and ambitious conclusion to the Doha round,’ added Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU rotating presidency.

The draft conclusions do not contain a reference to the 2010 deadline.

G8 leaders were also set to say that efforts to stabilize their economies would be strengthened ‘when our (fiscal stimulus) measures will reach their full effect.’

The wording aims to balance the concerns of the United States, which is calling for stronger stimuli, and EU powerhouse Germany, which is eager to rein in public spending as soon as the crisis is over.

Cleaning up the financial sector of toxic assets remains ‘an urgent priority,’ the draft states.

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