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Leaders of the world's major industrialized nations have recommitted themselves to reviving economic growth, resisting protectionist measures, and reaching an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round of international trade talks. As the global economic downturn drags on, announcement that once-badly divided parties aim to renew negotiations and reach agreement couldn't come at a better time.
The so-called Doha Round was launched in 2001 to create new economic opportunities and contribute to global development and growth. In the 8 years since then, though, the talks haven't reached a conclusion. In meetings at a major economic summit in Italy this month, both the U.S. and India as members of the so called G8+5 nations agreed to return to the bargaining table to try to reach a compromise.
Globally, trade continues to shrink during the downturn. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that between March and July the value of exports in 30 of its member countries fell 13.4% from the previous 3 months. Imports fell 15.2%.
All parties have a stake in the talks. A global trade deal that creates new market access could both boost business and jobs, as well as pre-empting protectionist moves that some nations have adopted in the downturn to defend their interests. Protectionism ultimately protects no one and concluding the Doha Round as expeditiously as possible is the right thing to do.