Brown Calls on G20 to Agree Deal to Help Poorer Countries

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Byline: JOE MURPHY Political Editor

GORDON BROWN today launched an impassioned challenge to Barack Obama over free trade, urging for a "support thy neighbour" deal at the London summit.

Opening a fresh series of talks before the G20 meeting on 2 April, the Prime Minister said the world had a "moral responsibility" to safeguard the poorest countries and not just wealthy nations.

That meant opening up markets instead of curbing imports of foreign goods.

"The Thirties brought protectionism in response to recession; in 2009 we must tackle protectionism head-on," he said.

He made his call alongside the pro-trade European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, and later went into talks with African leaders.

Mr Brown inched towards an agreement on stimulating the global economy by announcing that the International Monetary Fund will police the way countries respond to the crisis. With hopes fading for a "cash on the table" deal at the London summit, he shifted the focus to long-term measures.

"The whole world should be committed to deliver the sustained effort that is necessary to restore growth," he said at a Downing Street press conference.

"We are calling on the International Monetary Fund to assess the actions taken and the actions required for the future. That's the basis on which we will proceed to the G20 in London. …