The leaders of the G7 will reaffirm the ideals set out at the last OECD ministerial meeting in an effort to consolidate the agenda for the upcoming WTO ministerial meeting in Sinapore - in essence the G7 should maintain the momentum of trade liberalisation. The abililty of leaders to promote or even move ahead of principals set out in the OECD in preparation of the WTO meeting will be mitigated by the protectionist pressures generated from two different sources.
The first being domestic electoral pressures in the United States generating protectionist actions in international trade. The other six countries will address the trend towards unilateral meaures by the Americans, such as the Helms Burton Act, sanctions on Libya and Iran or the lack of effort on current liberalising legislation (such as the tabled agreement to curb shipbuilding subsidies or maritime transport). They will attempt to ensure that the price of such action is made apparent (such as the revitalisation of MAI in the OECD). However, their abilty to restrict American action will be constrained in the wording of the communique that will encourage the resolution of disputes in available multilateral forums.
The second source of protectionist pressures that will affect the efforts to promote trade liberalization are rooted in external factors. There are those pressures generated by globalization and resulting market failures which call for increased government protection. In addition the ability of the WTO in reducing conventional trade barriers has resulted in the rise of non-tariff barriers. These pressures in turn generate a whole host of issues, such as calls for a return to a version of fixed exchange rates, the re-regulation of financial industries and efforts to establish labour standards in the context of trade. Any attempt to address these wide range of issues will again be mitigated by a lack of desire by the Americans to move on any of these issues. The best scenario the summit could produce in this context is an outline of the parameters of future dicussions.
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