CBI calls on G8 leaders to agree fairer trade rules

The CBI has called on the G8 leaders to reach agreement on fairer trade rules and international investment in Africa at this week’s Gleneagles summit.

Sir Digby Jones said it was “hypocrisy” for countries to provide aid to the poor world but insist on retaining tariffs and agricultural subsidies which make it impossible for African businesses to compete on a level playing field.

He called on every G8 country to commit to reducing international trade barriers at this week’s summit.

But he also issued a call for African states to root out corruption, saying that some of the continent’s leaders “think it’s their birthday” when the West hands over vast sums in aid.

The CBI has backed Tony Blair’s call for a package of trade, aid and debt relief to assist the world’s poorest countries, many of them in Africa. But in a speech to business leaders in London, he will make clear that he regards trade reform as the priority.

Jones is expected to say: “Business can be a force for good around the world, but ‘free trade’ has to mean ‘fair trade’. Developing countries in the grip of poverty must be granted a level playing field.”


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