Brown urges G8 into action over agricultural subsidies
GORDON BROWN called on the G8 club of advanced economies yesterday to prepare themselves to rescue the Doha trade round if the talks fail to make progress in reducing agricultural subsidies.
The Chancellor told a conference in Nigeria that, after the failure of talks in Hong Kong last year, time was running out for negotiators at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva to reach an "ambitious" trade deal. Meetings of the G8 countries, due to take place in June and July, could break the deadlock.
He said: "We must do everything in our power to resist a retreat into protectionism. It is urgent that heads of government stand ready to break the deadlock, using all the resources of leadership and statesmanship."
Mr Brown said that Europe and the United States must end their farm subsidies as part of their commitment to developing nations. India and Brazil, the leading voices for the developing countries, should be ready to make concessions on allowing Western imports if the subsidies were lifted, he suggested. He added that poor countries should strengthen their commitment to transparency of funding, in an attempt to root out corruption around poor nations' natural resources.
Mr Brown rejected "forced liberalisation" for developing countries, saying that they should be allowed to plan their own trade reforms.