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Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.

Global Trade Deal Vital for World's Poor: World Bank

A senior World Bank official said Monday the Doha Development Round remains vital to sharing the benefits of globalization more equitably and lifting millions of people from poverty.


Danny Leipziger, the head of the World Bank delegation to the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week, was quoted as saying in a statement released by the bank in Washington that the meeting must, at the very least, maintain a clear focus on the three keys to a successful Doha Development Round of trade negotiations.


Leipziger, also the bank's deputy president for poverty reduction and economic management, said it must include real and meaningful agricultural reforms, including cuts to subsidies and, importantly, removing limits on market access for developing countries; The deputy president said all countries need to participate, because developed and developing countries both stand to gain most from an agreement covering all markets and all sectors. The smaller the number of participants, the smaller the potential gains;


Thirdly, aid for trade is essential to enable developing countries to take advantage of market opening and to compensate a few developing countries as they adjust to the new trade environment, Leipziger said.


"Over the last few weeks, we have seen expectations for progress in Hong Kong diminish. Negotiations remain deadlocked over tough issues, especially the issue of support by rich countries for their own agricultural producers, Leipziger said.


"But the stakes are just too high -- not just for the poor, but for the global economy -- to let the trade talks conclude without real progress. The Doha Round represents an important opportunity to rewrite the rules of an unfair trading system that holds back the potential of the poorest people of the world, he said.


"And unless the poor have a chance to trade more and create more jobs, increased aid and debt forgiveness will have little sustained impact on their lives.


"More broadly, we need to remember that the developed countries provide their own farmers three times as much assistance as they give in total aid to the entire developing world. Countries sitting at the negotiating table must look beyond their own vested interests.


"And remember, that if Doha fails, it's the world's poor, those 1.2 billion people who are not present in Hong Kong, who will suffer the most. We must not let the interests of a few drown out the concerns and needs of the many," Leipziger concluded.


(Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2005)


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