World Bank chief presses for global trade deal

Paris, Nov 15 | Updated: Nov 16 2005, 05:30am hrs
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz piled on pressure for a global trade deal, saying on Tuesday progress in poverty reduction depended on clinching an accord. Agriculture was not the only issue standing in the way of a deal and the global economy also needed increased trade in services and manufactured goods, he added.

Real progress in poverty reduction depends on the successful outcome of the trade round, Wolfowitz told the European American Press Club in Paris. The stakes are enormous. Wolfowitzs call for a trade accord came a day after British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is currently chairing the Group of Eight leading industrial countries, urged the European Union and the United States to do more to avert failure at next months world trade talks in Hong Kong. Wolfowitz spoke after meeting French President Jacques Chirac earlier on Tuesday.

France has been the most vocal member of the 25-member EU in resisting further deep cuts in the blocs farm programmes and tariffs as part of a new world trade deal. Agriculture is not the only topic in Hong Kong, it cant be the only topic, Wolfowitz said. Greater trade in services and manufactured goods is also critical to developing countries and it is critical for all countries if we are to have a successful Doha round.

-Reuters