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Financial Post, Weekly edition, June 2, 1984


What the summit could achieve

Next week's economic summit meeting in London hasn't had the buildup of some of the previous gatherings of the big seven industrial nations. That's probably just as well because there's no point in expecting the seven leaders to issue instant cures for the world's economic ills.

Nonetheless, we should expect them to face up to some realities and indicate they have the resolve to co-operate more closely in the future. Here are some of the decisions and policy directions we would like to see taken at the summit:

Although the last summit condemned protectionism, it has grown worse. U.S. President Ronald Reagan may push for this new trade initiative, despite the strong protectionist sentiment among many U.S. Congressmen. Canada and Japan, along with Britain and West Germany, will no doubt support the U.S. on this - certainly an antiprotectionist stance will be Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's position.

It's true that the Gatt rules sometimes receive only lip service from the major industrial countries. But a strong endorsement for a new round of trade liberalization talks at Geneva would help counter protectionist pressures, and would be a solid achievement for the London summit - one that's very much in our long-term trading interests.

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