Tags: free | trade | Africa | Cameron

Cameron: We Must Do Everything to Promote Free Trade

Image: Cameron: We Must Do Everything to Promote Free Trade

Monday, 13 May 2013 12:02 PM

By Dan Weil

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U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron called Monday for trade barriers to be broken down as a way of stimulating the world economy.

Cameron's Op-Ed in Monday's Wall Street Journal, in which he called for cutting trade barriers, appeared on the day he meets President Barack Obama at the White House and five weeks before he hosts the annual meeting of the Group of Eight most powerful industrial nations.

"When times are tough, some want to put the barriers up, to look inwards, and to protect themselves from the world," Cameron wrote. "But Britain and America stand for a better way. We have a precious opportunity to transform the global economy — not by less openness and less free trade, but by more. And we must do everything possible to seize it."

Cameron said Africa would be a "lion of global growth" if it could trade freely. "But a single truck still needs to carry up to 1,000 documents just to travel between the countries of the Southern African Development Community."

He said free trade — along with fairer taxes and greater transparency — will form his platform at the G-8 summit June 17-18 in Northern Ireland.

In particular, trade authorities must get rid of the secrecy that lets corrupt officials and companies flout the law in some countries.

"It is to the shame of the whole world that a lack of transparency allowed the illicit diamond trade to fuel appalling conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Today, we have a duty to make sure that resource wealth does not fuel conflict, corruption and crime," the Conservative leader wrote.

"The G-8 must move toward a global common standard for resource-extracting companies to report all payments to governments, and in turn for governments to report those revenues. This will encourage more investment in resource-rich countries and level the playing field for business."

These proposals will help business and development, Cameron says. "By promoting more trade, fairer taxes and greater transparency, Britain and America can once again lead the way in meeting the greatest challenge of our time: securing the growth and stability on which the prosperity of the whole world depends."

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