Persson calls for economic liberalisation

(AFX) - Swedish prime minister Göran Persson has called for progress in the WTO round of trade liberalisation talks to be made at a special gathering on the sidelines of an OECD meeting in Paris.

Persson, who is chairing the OECD meeting, said participants “must seize the great opportunities that free trade and open markets offer for all” while ensuring the vulnerable are not harmed.

“Rich and poor countries can benefit from open trade,” he said.

Persson warned that globalisation could be made a scapegoat for countries with flagging growth.

He said trade and economic liberalisation are “critical for fighting poverty”.

The gathering of around 30 trade ministers – including those from the US, the EU, India, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Japan – will take place on Wednesday on the margins of the OECD’s annual ministerial meeting.