G-20 Leaders Warn Against Protectionism, Call for Doha Round Changes
Following their Nov. 3-4 summit in France, leaders of G-20 member countries issued a communique that primarily focuses on economic and financial recovery and job growth but also includes the following provisions concerning international trade.
Trade Barriers. The leaders extended until the end of 2013 their commitment not to impose new trade restrictions; vowed to roll back any new protectionist measures that may have arisen, including new export restrictions and WTO-inconsistent measures to stimulate exports; and agreed to ask the WTO, OECD and UNCTAD to continue monitoring the situation and report publicly on a semiannual basis
Doha Round. The leaders expressed support for the Doha Round but asserted that it will not be completed “if we continue to conduct negotiations as we have in the past.” As a result, they called for “fresh, credible approaches to furthering negotiations” to be pursued in 2012, “including the issues of concern for least developed countries and, where they can bear fruit, the remaining elements” of the Doha Round talks. They instructed their ministers to work on such approaches at the December WTO ministerial meeting and to engage in discussions on “challenges and opportunities to the multilateral trading system in a globalized economy.”
WTO. The leaders called for a “strengthening of the WTO, which should play a more active role in improving transparency on trade relations and policies and enhancing the functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism.”
Corruption. The leaders emphasized “the need for swift implementation of a strong international legislative framework, the adoption of national measures to prevent and combat corruption and foreign bribery, the strengthening of international cooperation in fighting corruption and the development of joint initiatives between the public and the private sector.”
Currency. The leaders affirmed their commitment to “move more rapidly toward more market-determined exchange rate systems and enhance exchange rate flexibility to reflect underlying economic fundamentals, avoid persistent exchange rate misalignments and refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies.”