Peter Costello

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Australia Emphasises Importance of Successful Trade Talks at IMF/World Bank Meetings



A central theme at the IMF/World Bank Ministerial meetings in Dubai, UAE is the urgent need for the speedy resumption of the Doha trade round.

A good Doha outcome is seen as vital for ensuring sustained world growth and making meaningful inroads into reducing poverty.

Australia emphasised that a key contribution the IMF and World Bank could make was to actively promote and demonstrate through its research the economic benefits of trade liberalisation. It is important not to lose sight of the big issue - the very real benefits that can be gained through increased trade whilst dealing with the detail of intense trade negotiations. It is particularly unfortunate that the trade negotiations at Cancun were conducted in a corrosive "win-lose" atmosphere. The central point is that all countries stand to gain from trade liberalisation and that countries that reduce tariffs even without matching responses can obtain economic benefits from opening their economies. This is the experience of Australia.

There was agreement at the meetings that while the global economy was gaining momentum, there were significant risks associated with the unbalanced nature of the recovery and the deterioration in the fiscal position of the major economies.

Australia emphasised that the most effective way of promoting the development of the low-income countries was through good domestic policies and institutions and an open trading environment. Success with the Doha round would make a major contribution to nurturing the recovery.

Ministers at the meetings also reaffirmed support for a multilateral effort to assist Iraq. Australia has received special thanks from Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq for its contribution to this task, in particular the work of Australian Treasury officials in preparing the first public budget for Iraq since 1979 and developing the tax structure for Iraq.


22 September 2003

Contact: Niki Savva
02 6277 7340


22 Sep 2003

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