G5 nations point finger on trade and climate

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The Group of Five emerging nations, which include powerhouses China and India, said on yesterday developed countries had to take the lead on removing trade barriers and addressing climate change.
The G5, formulating its position ahead of talks with the Group of Eight rich nations in Italy, cautioned that they were suffering more from the global economic crisis caused by the world’s wealthiest countries, Reuters reports.
“We are concerned about the present state of the world economy, which submits the developing countries to an inordinate burden resulting from a crisis they did not initiate,” said the G5 nations, which also include Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.
The G5 meetings came amid hopes of possible breakthrough on trade. A draft communique suggested the G8 and G5 would agree at talks in the Italian town of L’Aquila to conclude the stalled Doha round of trade talks in 2010.
In their statement, the G5 said it was committed to try to address “any outstanding problems” on trade talks and added the successful conclusion of Doha would provide “a major stimulus to the restoration of confidence in world markets”.
But it also called on the world’s richest nations to tear down trade barriers they said were a drag on the world economy and to restore credit to the poorest countries.
“We will stress tomorrow the importance of maintaining adequate flow of finance to the developing countries and also of keeping markets open by resisting protectionist pressures,” said India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The G8 agreed on yesterday to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 %, but it failed to persuade China and India to join a bid to halve world emissions.
Speaking to reporters, leaders of the G5 nations said the world’s richest nations had a greater responsibility to address climate change.
With only five months until a new UN climate pact is due to be agreed in Copenhagen, the G5 called on developed nations to reduce their aggregate emissions by at least 40 % below 1990 levels by 2020.
“The member countries of the Group of Five reiterate our commitment to shared yet differentiated responsibilities in order to face this global problem,” said Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo stood in for President Hu Jintao, who pulled out of the summit to return home to monitor developments in the northwestern Xinjiang region after 156 people were killed in its worst ethnic violence in decades.
Some had thought China might push for G8 debate about the dollar’s status as the world’s main reserve currency, but Dai steered well clear of broaching anything so controversial in his statement to the press.
“We had a candid, effective and in-depth exchange of views and reached a broad consensus. Of course, there are some issues that need further discussion and study,” he said.
China has been credited by many analysts for a textbook stimulus programme that has helped its recovery, and the G5 countries called for “strong economic stimulus measures to restore market confidence”.
“Developed countries have a leading responsibility in this regard.”