Brown: We Need Free Trade for Global Recovery

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Byline: JOE MURPHY Political Editor

GORDON BROWN today called for a global push on free trade saying it was time for countries to "support thy neighbour".

His appeal came as the world's most powerful central banker predicted America's recession will end this year, opening hopes of a return to growth next year.

In a rare interview Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said: "This decline will begin to moderate and we'll begin to see a levelling off. We won't be back to full employment. But we will, I hope, see the end of these declines that have been so strong in a last couple of quarters.

"We'll see the recession coming to an end probably this year. We'll see recovery beginning next year." Mr Bernanke warned leaders heading to the London Summit in three weeks that the rosy outlook would be at risk if they failed to reach agreements on measures to stimulate world economies.

That left America still at loggerheads with several key European countries over the need for a bigger economic stimulus. German finance minister Peer Steinbruck was defiant at the weekend's talks of G20 nations in Horsham, saying: "We are convinced it makes no sense to pump more and more money in our economy when we haven't restored the confidence on the financial markets." The Prime Minister agrees with President Obama on the need to inject more money into the economies to defeat the threat of a deflationary spiral but there are tensions over free trade, following the US leader's attempts to defend his domestic markets against imports. …