Developing nations seek to reduce trade barriers


Iran, Nigeria and six other developing countries neared agreement to reduce trade barriers, protect migrant workers’ rights and support the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Central bank governors and foreign ministers of the Developing Eight Countries (D8) met in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to seek closer economic cooperation that would help protect the group from another global financial crisis. Reuters reports.

The heads of state for the D8 — consisting of Iran, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey — were expected to sign a final agreement on Thursday.
“Though the most acute phase of the global financial crisis has passed, recovery remains fragile,” said D8 Secretary General A.W. Wabarakatuh.
“Persistent risks to economic health of developing countries including high unemployment, low growth and scarce international financing are still continuing.”

Under a draft Abuja declaration, the group proposed to combat corruption, ease visa procedures, expedite multilateral trade agreements and review the creation of an investment fund for use by member countries. Trade between the eight countries is estimated at around $68 billion, or about 3 percent of global trade.
“It has become necessary to review and adopt common regulatory regimes to safeguard financial systems’ stability and forestall a reoccurrence of the recent experience in our various countries,” said Nigerian Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi. The proposed declaration also backs “peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” but does not specifically mention Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities.

The United States and other powers are locked in a standoff with Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes but which the West fears is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to attend the summit tomorrow.