G7 seeks to keep world trade deals on track despite protests

Thu Jun 5, 2014 10:36am EDT
 
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* Accords aim to integrate the world's biggest economies, may sideline China

* Leaders discussed rising opposition to talks at summit in Brussels

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS, June 5 (Reuters) - The world's leading industrialised nations vowed on Thursday to seal a series of free-trade deals that would radically change the shape of global commerce despite rising popular opposition.

Leaders of the G7 committed themselves to eight far-reaching accords that would encompass more than 80 percent of the world's economy but that effectively sideline China and Russia and have met with protests, particularly in Europe.

In the most ambitious round of liberalisation since the demise of the Doha round of global trade talks, the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States want to create a market of almost a billion people and set world trade rules that the rest may have to follow.

An EU-U.S. deal alone could generate $100 billion in additional economic output a year on both sides of the Atlantic.

"We aim to finalise (these agreements) as soon as possible," the Group of Seven said in a statement following a two-day summit in Brussels, a meeting that Russia was cut out of following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Following the worst financial crisis in a generation, the G7 sees the accords as a relatively painless way to create jobs by bring down barriers to business and integrating their economies.   Continued...