Gathered in Rome on February 14th, the G7 Finance Ministers (United States, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada) jointly confirmed their commitment to « act together using a complete pallet of economic policy tools to support growth and employment and strengthen the financial sector », as can be read in the final communiqué published on Saturday. However, some tools get more favourable press coverage than others – hence, the “quick and ambitious conclusion” of the Doha Round, as stipulated in the above-mentioned communiqué, once again takes all the votes.
A consensus which P. Lamy is delighted with, since he hadn’t spared any efforts to convince the G7 of the necessity to conclude Doha to curb the economic recession: according to him, world trade will be the key growth factor in 2009, particularly in the developing countries which, according to the forecasts, will be the only ones to post positive growth.
However, whereas protectionist measures are spreading throughout a great number of countries in the world, the numerous oral commitments in favour of Doha increasingly appear as a moral guarantee for governments which often, behind these statements of intent, hide revival plans which are not always « WTO-compatible ». But who could blame them for that ? When it is well-known that the WTO is ready to fire at the European Union’s decision to reintroduce export support measures for the dairy sector, it is quite legitimate to question the legitimacy of Doha. Free trade yes, but not at any price – and even less to the expense of food security…