Global trade deal the next step to fight economic crisis: WTO chief

03 Apr 2009


World leaders should now turn their attention to a successful conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks if they are to take the economic crisis head on, Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has said.

Lamy welcomed the G20 summit declaration that global trade should be kept open and supported with $334 billion worth of finance measures.

"Implementation now is something we will be watching," Lamy said.

He, however, said both ends are yet to meet with the United States and India at the two extreme positions. For Doha round to succeed the new US administration needs to fine-tune its position on trade, while India has to go through its elections.

The G-20 has vowed to resist protectionism and promote global trade and investment.
''World trade growth has underpinned rising prosperity for half a century.  But it is now falling for the first time in 25 years. Falling demand is exacerbated by growing protectionist pressures and a withdrawal of trade credit,'' the G-20 declared.

Reinvigorating world trade and investment is essential for restoring global growth. We will not repeat the historic mistakes of protectionism of previous eras.  To this end:

we reaffirm the commitment made in Washington: to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organisation (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.  In addition we will rectify promptly any such measures.  We extend this pledge to the end of 2010;

we will minimise any negative impact on trade and investment of our domestic policy actions including fiscal policy and action in support of the financial sector.  We will not retreat into financial protectionism, particularly measures that constrain worldwide capital flows, especially to developing countries;

we will notify promptly the WTO of any such measures and we call on the WTO, together with other international bodies, within their respective mandates, to monitor and report publicly on our adherence to these undertakings on a quarterly basis;

we will take, at the same time, whatever steps we can to promote and facilitate trade and investment; and

we will ensure availability of at least $250 billion over the next two years to support trade finance through our export credit and investment agencies and through the MDBs.  We also ask our regulators to make use of available flexibility in capital requirements for trade finance, the G-20 averred.

The G-to leaders said they remained committed to reaching an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round, which is urgently needed. This could boost the global economy by at least $150 billion per annum, they added.

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