SINGAPORE Aug 4 Australia is urging the Group
of 20 advanced and emerging countries to put more emphasis on
boosting global trade in their proposals for economic growth,
particularly in the wake of last week's collapsed World Trade
Organization customs pact.
G20 leaders will meet in the Australian city of Brisbane in
November, and as G20 president Australia wants countries to
submit binding measures to raise collective GDP by an additional
2 percent over five years.
So far most of the proposals are narrowly focused on areas
like competition policy and infrastructure.
"We would like to see more trade and employment measures,"
said Heather Smith, Australia's most senior G20 official during
a briefing with reporters in Singapore on Monday.
"It's about removing domestic barriers that will help
Smith said that Australia wanted to make the G20 focus more
on trade issues rather than just expressing its support for
other trade pact such as the Doha Agreement.
Last week the WTO failed to clinch a deal to standardize
customs rules, which would have been the first global trade
reform in two decades. Smith said that the deal's collapse
raised questions about the WTO's long-term future.
"On the one hand we all want to strengthen the WTO but on
the other, how can you make progress when an agreement like this
has been unwound?," she said.
"There are no winners from this outcome. For developing
countries it will have an impact".
Smith said that so far G20 countries have submitted around
700 measures to boost global growth, but many of the trade ones
focused on existing or forthcoming free trade agreements.
"We would like to see more beyond the focus on free trade
agreements" she said.
(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Michael Perry)