Brown gets trade in green goods to the fore

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, January 21: | Updated: Jan 23 2008, 00:27am hrs
On the lines of the recent EU-US proposal for introducing trade in green goods and services in the WTO agenda, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown called for "an opportunity" to innovate and market new technologies to meet the challenges of climate change.

He also said, for reforms in international rules and institutions to reflect the urgency of tackling global poverty and climate change. He supported India's bid to have a permanent place in the UN Security Council.

He said that India, the world's largest democracy and Britain, one of the world's oldest democracy can work in a partnership of equals and an alliance of shared values.

Speaking at an event hosted by two apex industry bodies FICCI and CII in Delhi on Monday, Brown said: "Finding a low carbon path should also be seen as an opportunity both to innovate and market new technologies and by reducing their costs and sharing them not least through a global carbon market enabling developing countries to leapfrog the already industrializing countries and move straight to a cleaner future."

Expressing the urgent need for financing environmentally sustainable development, he called for strengthening World Bank's capacity and reach "I propose as a first stage- building on Britain's new $1.6 billion international environmental transformation fund the creation of a global climate change fund; a multi-billion pound fund operating within the World Bank Clean Energy Investment Framework that will finance low carbon investment, sustainable forestry programme, adaptation and climate-resilient development in the poorest countries."

Hinting at multilateral trade system, he said: "the task ahead is to agree for our new time the rules than can make globalization a force for hope and progress for people from Birmingham to Bangalore."

Indian commerce minister, Kamal Nath said that there were challenges in the WTO and India was committed to the successful conclusion of the Doha Round. The rise in global food prices was a matter of concern, he said and added that the economies of the West and the emerging economies of the East should collectively meet this challenge. Nath also cautioned against the growing economic nationalism in the West.

Brown also suggested revamping of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and said that the institution maintaining its independence should focus on surveillance of the global economic and financial system and thus prevent crises and not just resolve them. In a wider role, he said, IMF should work with the Financial Stability Forum, set up in the aftermath of Asian crises for an early warning system for financial turbulence affecting the global economy. He also suggested changes in the G8 that reflect the rise of India and Asia.

Naming organizations like Al-Qaeda, Taliban and referring to tragedies in Bosnia, Rwanda, Myanmar and Darfur, Brown said : "the world is not currently equipped to respond as we must to the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the rise of non-state terrorism, the threat to civilians during conflict and from genocide and the need to rapidly underpin peace with support for reconstruction." He suggested all countries to strengthen networks of global law enforcement authorities, intelligence agents, police and financial regulators.

He suggested that the UN Security Council resolutions should authorise peacekeeping missions in conflict affected countries to also kick start stabilization and reconstruction and one envoy should be entrusted with authority for this purpose. Rapid response teams of police, judges, lawyers, trainers and other civilian experts from different countries should be constituted to place the affected countries on road to economic recovery and political stability. A UN crisis prevention and recovery fund should be set up to provide immediate support for reconstruction.

Britain has decided to press for early agreement to a new IAEA-led international system to help non-nuclear states acquire the new sources of energy they need, including through an enrichment bond. But this offer must be made only in return for firm commitments to the highest non-proliferation standards, he said

Brown said: "facing serious challenges from Iran and North Korea, we must send a powerful signal to all members of the international community that the race for more and bigger stockpiles of nuclear destruction is over."

The expiration of the remaining US-Russia arms control deals, the continued existence of large arsenals and the stalemates on a fissile material cut-off treaty and the comprehensive test ban treaty must all be addressed, he said and added that Britain was prepared to help determine the needs for the verifiable elimination of nuclear warheads. Britain would also work to achieve a global arms trade treaty

At a roundtable of India-UK CEOs on Monday, India sought investments from UK in the areas like highway projects, bridges, expressways, ports, power generation, water plants, water management techniques. So far investments from UK were mainly from the sectors such as telecom, chemicals, fuels, service sector. The roundtable was attended by Lord Digby Jones, UK minister of state, for trade and investment.

At the India-UK annual summit held in Delhi on Monday the delegation from the UK was led by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and that from India was led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A joint statement was issued covering areas like India-UK strategic partnership, economic and commercial, education, research, science and technology, civil nuclear cooperation, climate change, millennium development goals (MDGs), WTO, proposed India-EU FTA, international issues and measures to counter terrorism.