British Prime Minister David Cameron will call on other nations to pursue bilateral trade accords while a “coalition of the willing” among them seeks broader regional free-trade agreements, including a European Union deal with the U.S.
Cameron will say in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today that nations need to take action to prevent protectionism after the repeated failure to agree a deal under the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round.
“Rather than trying to involve everyone at once, let’s get some bilateral deals done,” Cameron will tell politicians and business leaders at the Swiss ski resort, according to remarks released by his office in London. “Let’s be more creative in the way we use the multilateral system.”
Cameron is relying on overseas trade to prevent Britain slipping into its second recession in three years as the deepest public spending cuts, rising unemployment and record levels of household debt weigh on growth. Figures released yesterday showed the economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, more than the government had predicted.
Cameron will call on the EU to sign trade agreements with India, Canada and Singapore by the end of the year and boost the 27-nation bloc’s output by 90 billion euros ($118 billion). He will also urge leaders to “look at options” for an EU-U.S. deal that would have a “bigger impact than all of the other agreements put together.”
Without waiting for a global WTO deal, nations wanting to spur trade should also “forge ahead with more ambitious deals of their own,” Cameron will say. He’ll praise the Trans-Pacific Partnership and propose progress toward a deal between the EU and Africa.
“This is a bold agenda on trade which can deliver tangible results this year,” Cameron will say. “I am proposing that we start work on it immediately.”
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