Brazil’s Lula warns against ‘drug’ of protectionism

PARIS (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday the restoration of credit and the fight against the “drug” of protectionism were the most urgent problems facing G20 leaders meeting in London this week.

Rising protectionist sentiment around the world will also make it difficult to press on with the Doha round of world trade talks, he wrote in a column in French newspaper Le Monde before the meeting of leaders from the world’s 20 biggest economies.

As a major commodities exporter and one of the so-called BRIC emerging market powers along with Russia, China and India, Brazil has been a key player in the Doha round. Lula has previously urged leaders to complete the stalled talks.

“I know that it won’t be easy to conclude the Doha cycle,” he wrote of the seven-year-old round of talks. “In times of crisis, protectionism, which I see as a drug, rises.”

A dispute between India and the United States over anti-import surge protections for developing country farmers scuppered an effort to reach a trade deal last July.

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