labels: economy - general, world trade organisation
US, Britain maintain optimism on global trade pactnews
31 July 2007

The US and the UK have expressed their optimism over the long-delayed global trade agreement by the members of the World Trade Organisation.

Prime minister Gordon Brown of the UK said at a joint news conference with President George Bush at the Camp David Presidential retreat in Maryland yesterday that the two leaders were unanimous in seeking an early conclusion to a trade agreement.

Brown said that they had agreed to step up contact between leaders so that an agreement could be finalised quickly in the near future.

He said he had spoken with leaders including the EU president Jose Manuel Barroso, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, prime minister Manmohan Singh and World Trade Organisation boss Pascal Lamy.

India, Brazil, Europe and the United States have been among the leading protagonists in the WTO''s Doha round.

President George Bush said that Brown had brought some interesting suggestions on moving ahead with the talks. "He''s optimistic that we can conclude the Doha round, as am I,'''' Bush said. He also said that the British PM understood "that if poverty had to be eradicated, it was important to ensure the success of the Doha round.''''

Unlike previous trade talks, the Doha round was launched to enable the poorer nations more fruitful role in the global economy.

Though the West has maintained that a world trade agreement enable progress to a more open, global trading economy, its collapse would lead to a retreat into protectionism, critics, including aid and advocacy group Oxfam, say rich nations must stop treating development-friendly policies as a concession.

Bernice Romero, Oxfam International''s policy director, said in a statement, "Development should be front and centre in these talks, otherwise the resulting deal will not help to reduce poverty.''''

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US, Britain maintain optimism on global trade pact