Source: unic.org
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27 September - Existing trade imbalances must be redressed to ensure a sustainable economic recovery, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding told the General Assembly today, urging renewed efforts to wrap up the so-called Doha Round of talks on reducing global trade barriers.

“Market forces and competitiveness are indispensable for economic development, but the new millennium cannot be defined by the survival of the fittest,” he told the 192-member body's annual high-level debate.

The Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) began in the Qatari capital in 2001. The negotiations aim to liberalize trade worldwide, but have been stalled for several years.

“It is common sense that if one part of the world is not able to export more to the rest of the world, it won't be able to import more from that other part of the world,” Mr. Golding said.

The Doha negotiations must, he stressed, include a development element to enhance competitiveness and capacity in weak exporting countries, as well as differential treatment adjusted for the varying sizes of countries' economies.

Such an approach “offers a win-win situation – more exports from developing countries, more jobs for their people and more demand for imports from other countries,” he said.

He called for the Doha Round to be concluded, emphasizing that the gains made by poorer nations in earlier negotiations not be unravelled.

The financial crisis, the official said, has exposed weaknesses in the global financial governance systems, underscoring the need for reform of international financial institutions to allow developing nations a greater voice.

In this vein, he welcomed the establishment of the so-called Group of 20 (G20) as the “locus of global economic policy-making,” and urged the body to “institute a mechanism to engage the views of the wider developing world.”

Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister of Bahrain, also hailed the increasing prominence of the G20 in responding to crises.

“This is due to the fact that it represents some 90 per cent of the world economy,” he told the Assembly.

“Consequently, time has come for this Group, and other blocs, to play a leading role in enhancing and developing a common action from within the United Nations system and its various institutions by conceiving plans for a collective action to enhance the capacity of countries to address future crises and achieve an open and integrated economy.”