Business leaders, G20 state heads warn against trade protectionism

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seoul - Multinational leaders and heads of G20 economies on Thursday called on the G20 and the entire world to keep trade moving and shun protectionism at the Business Summit, a prelude to the G20 Seoul Summit.

Leaders of the world's major countries, including the US, China, Japan, Britain, Russia, Brazil and Germany, were gathering in Seoul for a key summit, which started late Thursday.

Collectively, the G20 economies comprise 85 percent of global gross national product and 80 percent of world trade, including EU intra-trade.

The two-day business summit had brought together the heads of some 120 of the world's leading companies from 34 developed and developing countries, with combined total sales of over $4 trillion dollars annually.

Hong Kong-based Li & Fung Group Chairperson Victor Fung, who convened a roundtable session under the theme of "Trade & Investment", said trade was the lifeblood of the global economy and the world needed more of it at this critical moment, not less.

"We need to move the trade agenda forward, need to complete the Doha Round by 2011. And over the Doha Round, all technical issues have been largely resolved. All that is needed now is political will. The real danger is growing protectionism," Fung told the press conference after the end of the business summit.

"Global trade is essential to ensure that the world's economic growth potential is realised," said a joint statement issued after the business summit.

According to a working report produced by Fung and other corporate leaders at the Business Summit, the World Trade Organisation recently raised its forecast for trade growth in 2010 to 13.5 percent, based on strong demand for goods and services, particularly from developing countries.