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Perhaps predictably, media coverage of the G-20 Seoul Summit focused on the currency wars, and assessments of impact of the meeting were decidedly mixed (though, interestingly, more negative in the United States than in the big emerging markets). But global imbalances were hardly the only item on the agenda. Three summit documents have the potential to become more important with the passage of time, especially if the development community seizes upon them as opportunities to press the big economies for pro-development policies and spreads the word.
There actually seems to be hope that next week’s G20 summit will move beyond the tired mantra to finish the Doha Round and give a push to the Millennium Declaration commitment to provide duty-free, quota-free market access for the world’s poorest countries. This is an opportunity to contribute to job creation and growth when the global economy is still fragile. Furthermore, it would have minimal impact on importing countries since the least-developed countries account for around 1 percent of global trade.
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing this week to discuss motivations and options for reforming U.S. trade preference programs. The session touched on how U.S. trade preferences affect developing countries, and questioned how they could be improved to reflect shifting global challenges.
This is a joint posting with Kimberly Elliott and also appeared on the Huffington Post.
With one important reservation, we welcome last week’s EU proposal that the upcoming Pittsburgh G-20 Summit “should adopt the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) initiative without delay to support people in developing countries suffering from the crisis.” The EBA nominally provides 100 percent duty-free, quota-free market access for exports from least-developed countries, so suggesting that the rest of the G-20 replicate it is clearly in line with a Sept. 2 letter sent by members of the CGD Global Trade Preference Reform Working Group. The letter called upon:
This blog entry also appeared on the Huffington Post.
Leaders of the world’s richest nations have repeatedly pledged to offer the world’s poorest countries duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access to their markets. Such access is one of the most powerful tools that high-income countries have to help poor countries to help themselves. The upcoming G-20 summit in Pittsburgh is an opportunity for the world’s leaders to finally deliver on this promise.
The outcome of today’s G20 summit has become even more critical for developing countries as the World Bank revised the 2009 forecast for GDP growth in the developing world to 2.1 percent down from 5.8 percent in 2008. But a draft copy of the G20 communiqué published by the Financial Times could go farther in its commitment to help the world’s most vulnerable countries.