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    The Government Perspective: Boosting Trade and Investment


    International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2009

    The London Summit took place at a time of unprecedented economic challenge for world leaders and, fittingly, world leaders agreed on unprecedented action to face these challenges.

    In addition to the headline agreement to make US$1.1 trillion available to support the world economy, leaders also committed to resisting protectionism. This included an historic commitment to make available $250 billion to halt the slowdown in trade finance, which facilitates 90% of world trade.

    We know that keeping global markets open and fair is essential in a climate where international trade flows are falling sharply. Leaders' personal commitment to prioritize the Doha Round demonstrated a desire to boost international trade and guard against protectionism.

    For the United Kingdom, it was vitally important that the G20 agreed to provide new resources for protecting the poorest countries, as we believe fair and open markets are the key to global prosperity. The United Kingdom has been a pioneer in linking trade and development and we have championed Aid for Trade, which aims to help developing countries unlock potential to trade and grow. Recently we led support for a conference in Lusaka, Zambia, which raised over $1.2 billion in support of southern and eastern Africa's major roads and railways, to help boost trade and regional integration.

    Following the London Summit, we have launched World Trade Week UK, which will be held from 8-12 June 2009 (www.dfid.gov.uk/worldtradeweekuk.com). A first in this country, the week will see the government - both in the United Kingdom and through its international offices - work in partnership with businesses, policymakers and local communities to highlight the importance of trade to jobs, growth and our shared global economic future. We will be hosting an international trade conference, where global trade leaders will convene. This event will kick-start a week-long programme of activities across the United Kingdom and beyond, to demonstrate the vital importance of trade and the choices that businesses, policymakers and communities can make to ensure world trade is sustained.

    At this historic and precarious time, it is necessary that we build on the momentum gained by the G20 leaders' commitment to reinvigorate world trade.