UK's Blair to warn of failure at world trade talks
Updated: 2005-11-14 10:13
British Prime Minister Tony Blair will urge world leaders on Monday to step
up their efforts to secure a deal at next month's trade talks and warn that the
global economy will suffer if no agreement is reached.
With about a month to go before an expected showdown between global trading
powers in Hong Kong, Blair will set out the steps he thinks need to be taken to
get an accord to cut farm subsidies and lower tariffs around the world.
"In a modern world there is no security or prosperity at home unless we deal
with the global challenges of conflict, terrorism, trade, climate change and
poverty," Blair will say in a speech at a banquet for the City of London's Lord
"Self interest and mutual interest are inextricably linked. National
interests can best be advanced through collective action," he will say.
The speech reflects the prime minister's frustration at the slow progress of
World Trade Organization (WTO) talks.
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair (R) and
former prime minister Margaret Thatcher leave after the Remembrance Sunday
Service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London November 13,
Trade negotiators from around the world said last week their differences were
still too deep to settle on a blueprint for a new WTO round in Hong Kong.
The European Union is resisting pressure to go further in opening up its
heavily protected farm market while Brazil and India have been reluctant to
spell out how far they can go in cutting industrial tariffs.
One of Blair's main aims during Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight
industrialized nations this year is to help lift Africa out of poverty.
He is worried that G8 agreements made earlier in the year to cut debt and
double aid to Africa, will be undermined if developing nations are denied
greater access to global markets.
In September, Blair vowed to do whatever he could to get trade talks on track
if it looked as if December's meeting was heading for a failure.
It looks as if that is exactly what Blair now fears.
"At Gleneagles we showed the world - and the world's poor - that political
leaders in rich countries not only care about world poverty, but are capable of
acting together to help eliminate it," he will say.
"The challenge now is to extend that principle of cooperation into the
multilateral trading system -- and that is what the Doha Development round is
about. Sometimes I worry that we lose sight of what is at stake."
Blair will stress that the cost of failure to the world's economy and its
security would be high. Britain says developing countries could gain as much as
47 billion dollars from a world trade pact.