Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 15:10 UK

G8 leaders set 'to conclude Doha'

A Nairobi market
Developing countries have been concerned over tariffs

G8 leaders are to pledge to conclude the Doha round of trade talks as soon as possible, according to draft documents obtained by Reuters.

The news agency said the G8, and other key nations such as China and India, would announce that they aim to complete the talks next year.

The Doha talks were launched in 2001, but rows over issues such as farm subsidies have thwarted their success.

G8 leaders are in Italy discussing topics ranging from trade to Iran.


A major stumbling block in the Doha trade round has been farm import rules, which allow countries to protect poor farmers by imposing an import tariff on certain goods in the event of a drop in prices or a rise in imports.

The latest stage of world trade talks which began in 2001
Aims to liberalise trade in agriculture and services
Goal to boost trade and development of poor countries
Most recent talks between rich and poor nations in Geneva broke down in July 2008

India and the US have so far been unable to agree on what should be the tariff threshold in such an event.

Last summer, seven years after talks aimed at liberalising trade started, they collapsed in Geneva.

The head of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, is hoping that if the new US and Indian governments can reconsider their positions, talks could restart during a ministerial meeting scheduled for December.

Additional stimulus

Other key topics being debated in L'Aquila include seeking ways to address the global economic slowdown and what coordinated steps to take once the recovery begins.

Leaders said "significant risks remain to economic and financial stability" while "exit strategies" from stimulus plans should be unwound only "once recovery is assured", according to documents seen by Reuters.

"Before there is talk of additional stimulus, I would urge all leaders to focus first on making sure the stimulus that has been announced actually gets delivered," said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

G8 leaders - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US - are also set to debate African development, following pledges by world leaders made in Scotland in 2005.

Climate change is also a key topic on the agenda along with Iran's nuclear programme, North Korea's nuclear programme and food security.

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