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Business news, 26.05.2006 12:33

Annan asks rich countries to adopt bold trade policy

G8_summit United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan has asked leaders of Group of Eight industrialised countries to adopt ‘bold trade liberalisation measures’, including duty and quota-free access to goods for least developed countries.

“Developing countries need genuine market access opportunities for their goods and services, and the least developed countries should enjoy duty-free and quota-free access for theirs,” Annan said in similar letters to the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan and Russia.

The secretary general also stressed the need for measures to tackle the energy crisis in a way that that respects environment.

The eight are scheduled to meet in St Petersburg, Russia in July. The world body released the letter on Wednesday.

“It is also time for all trade-distorting subsidies for agriculture to be eliminated,” Annan wrote, noting that many countries will need assistance in order to benefit from current and newly-created opportunities, such as the so-called aid for trade programme.

“These are just some of the many sensible steps which, while fostering prosperity and opportunity for people everywhere, would allow poor and marginalised people, especially in the least developed countries, to lift themselves out of poverty,” Annan said.

“Yet I fear that the difficulties the negotiations have encountered have led some participants to contemplate settling for something less than a true development round.”

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