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by Agence France Presse
Saturday, Jul. 21, 2001 at 3:04 PM
An anti-globalization protester strolls past a burning car as widespread clashes with police erupted though out Genoa July 20, 2001. Police have been expecting violence as some 150,000 anti-globalization protesters took to the streets as Group of Eight leaders gathered for a 3 day meeting in the northern Italian city. (Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)
g83.jpg, image/jpeg, 450x300
Saturday July 21, 12:56 AM
World leaders defend globalisation in face of protests
GENOA, Italy, July 21 (AFP) -
Group of Eight leaders defied anti-globalisation activists rampaging through the Italian port of Genoa on Friday with a fierce defence of free markets.
The leaders, besieged by violent protesters as they met in a no-go zone surrounded by steel and concrete barriers, said free markets were the only sure way to deliver people from poverty.
"We have said together that globalisation is good, globalisation is an advantage for all, there is a need for more globalisation to ensure more democracy, more freedom, more well-being and jobs for all of the people of this earth," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.
"It is our desire to give to those that have less than we do in a generous spirit, not a one-off initiative but to give on a steady basis so as to really be able to bring about change."
Berlusconi defended the rich nations against accusations that they have failed the poor as he launched a 1.2-billion-dollar (1.4-billion-euro) war chest to fight AIDS and other major diseases.
"Those who are against the G8 are not fighting against leaders democratically elected in their countries, they are fighting against the Western world, the philosophy of the free world," he said.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and planned economies, free markets had been shown to be the only system that can create wealth, said the Italian host of G8 leaders.
"It may have flaws, there may be delays and shortcomings but it is a system that can bring about change, it has within it the tools that will enable this change, that will enable wealth to be generated," he added.
In a communique by the Group of Seven rich nations, the leaders vowed to launch a new round of free trade talks in November while giving better market access to the poor.
Open markets and a stronger World Trade Organization are an economic imperative, said the statement drawn up by leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States meeting in Genoa, Italy.
"It is for this reason that we pledge today to engage personally and jointly in the launch of a new ambitious Round of global trade negotiations at the fourth WTO ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar, this November," the document said.
"We are committed to working with developing countries, including the least developed, to ensure that the new Round addresses their priorities through improved market access and sounder, more transparent trade rules."
The G7 powers sought to lift the veil of gloom hanging over the slowing world economy.
"While the global economy has slowed more than expected over the past year, sound economic policies and fundamentals provide a solid foundation for stronger growth," it said.
The US economy had slowed sharply but longterm trends were favourable, the statement said. "Both monetary and fiscal policies are being actively employed to support recovery while maintaining price stability," it said. "The recently enacted tax cuts should bolster growth."
In the 12-country euro zone, economic growth had weakened but prospects were favourable. "The steady implementation of economic reforms will contribute to further raising the potential for growth."
In Japan, however, the economy had weakened and prices were falling. "Against this background, monetary policy should keep providing ample liquidity," it added.
The statement backed deep reforms proposed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to clean up the debt-ridden banking system. "Vigorous implementation of financial and corporate sector reforms is needed to lay the foundation for stronger economic growth over the medium term," it said.
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