G15 Leaders Seek 'Less Unjust' New World Order at Cairo Summit

Published June 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The G15 group of developing countries meets in Cairo Monday, one month ahead of the gathering of the world's richest nations, amid calls for a "less unjust" new world order. 

Among the leaders arriving in Cairo Sunday was President Marco Maciel of Brazil who said they were looking for a fairer world order of international trade. 

"We want an international order less unjust," Maciel told reporters through an interpreter at a luxury hotel. "This is our common ground among the G15. We will discuss globalization and its effects on the developing world." 

He said the G15 wants to find a "mechanism of cooperation" between the G15 and the G8 group of wealthy industrialized countries but also wants a means of cooperation among developing countries. 

The G8 -- led by the United States, the main European nations and Japan as well as Russia -- is meeting in Japan on July 21st. 

Other leaders to arrive Sunday were Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia, Fernando de la Rua of Argentina, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia. 

Malaysia has already proposed the G15 form a ministerial group to represent them at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Egypt's state-run MENA has reported. 

The group would stay in contact with international economic forums, coordinate stands on world commerce and promote trade among G-15 states, MENA said. 

G15 leaders are expected to discuss ways to draw private investment for small and medium industries, relieve debt and fight cheap imports undermining their domestic industries, delegates said. 

"Our local industries can't compete" under the free trade rules imposed by the WTO, O.J. Abuah, a spokesman for Nigerian President Obasanjo, told AFP. 

"Our textile industry is virtually moribund because of that," losing much of the domestic market to cheap foreign imports in the last five years, Abuah said. 

During a meeting Saturday evening, the G15 foreign ministers drafted a final summit declaration saying "the multilateral trade system should function in a more open, more equitable and more objective way." 

The draft statement also stressed the "need to take economic development into consideration as a main dimension in multilateral trade negotiations." 

"In the last two years, growth rates in developing countries have varied between six and two percent, and for the first time in ten years, these growth rates were below those recorded in developed countries," the draft said. 

"Special interest must be paid to the problems facing developing countries concerning the application of their obligations within the World Trade Organization," it added. 

The WTO conference in the US city of Seattle in December stumbled dramatically over differences among the United States, Europe and developing countries over the substance of a new round of trade liberalization. 

The G15 is seeking a closer dialogue and cooperation with the G8 in a bid to "reduce the risks of marginalization" under the globalization trend, the draft said. 

The G15, regretting "a decrease in development aid" from donor countries, hopes the industrial states will apply a UN recommendation that they set aside seven percent of Gross Domestic Product for such aid, the draft added. 

The G15, founded in 1989 to counter the power of the wealthy, industrialized nations, actually groups 17 nations. 

They are Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The summit ends Tuesday - CAIRO (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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