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London Economic Summit Economic Declaration: Building World Partnership

July 17, 1991

1. We, the Heads of State and Government of the seven major industrial democracies and the representatives of the European Community, met in London for our seventeenth annual Summit.

2. The spread of freedom and democracy which we celebrated at Houston has gathered pace over the last year. Together the international community has overcome a major threat to world peace in the Gulf. But new challenges and new opportunities confront us.

3. We seek to build world partnership, based on common values, and to strengthen the international order. Our aim is to underpin democracy, human rights, the rule of law and sound economic management, which together provide the key to prosperity. To achieve this aim, we will promote a truly multilateral system, which is secure and adaptable and in which responsibility is shared widely and equitably. Central to our aim is the need for a stronger, more effective UN system, and for greater attention to the proliferation and transfer of weapons.

Economic policy

4. Over the last year, some of our economies have maintained good growth, while most have slowed down and some gone into recession. But a global recession has been avoided. The uncertainty created by the Gulf crisis is behind us. We welcome the fact that there are now increasing signs of economic recovery. Progress has been made too in reducing the largest trade and current account imbalances.

5. Our shared objectives are a sustained recovery and price stability. To this end, we are determined to maintain, including through our economic policy coordination process, the medium-term strategy endorsed by earlier Summits. This strategy has contained inflationary expectations and created the conditions for sustainable growth and new jobs.

6. We therefore commit ourselves to implement fiscal and monetary policies, which, while reflecting the different situations in our countries, provide the basis for lower real interest rates. In this connection, continued progress in reducing budget deficits is essential. This, together with the efforts being made to reduce impediments to private saving, will help generate the increase in global savings needed to meet demands for investment. We also welcome the close cooperation on exchange markets and the work to improve the functioning of the international monetary system.

7. We will also, with the help of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other institutions, pursue reforms to improve economic efficiency and thus the potential for growth. These include: --

a) greater competition in our economies, including regulatory reform. This can enhance consumer choice, reduce prices and ease burdens on business.

b) greater transparency, elimination or enhanced discipline in subsidies that have distorting effects, since such subsidies lead to inefficient allocation of resources and inflate public expenditure.

c) improved education and training, to enhance the skills and improve the opportunities of those both in and out of employment, as well as policies contributing to greater flexibility in the employment system.

d) a more efficient public sector, for example through higher standards of management and including possibilities for privatisation and contracting out.

e) the wide and rapid diffusion of advances in science and technology.

f) essential investment, both private and public, in infrastructure.

8. We will encourage work nationally and internationally to develop cost-effective economic instruments for protecting the environment, such as taxes, charges and tradeable permits.

International trade

9. No issue has more far-reaching implications for the future prospects of the world economy than the successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round. It will stimulate non-inflationary growth by bolstering confidence, reversing protectionism and increasing trade flows. It will be essential to encourage the integration of developing countries and Central and East European nations into the multilateral trading system. All these benefits will be lost if we cannot conclude the Round.

10. We therefore commit ourselves to an ambitious, global and balanced package of results from the Round, with the widest possible participation by both developed and developing countries. The aim of all contracting parties should be to complete the Round before the end of 1991. We shall each remain personally involved in this process, ready to intervene with one another if differences can only be resolved at the highest level.

11. To achieve our objectives, sustained progress will be needed in the negotiations at Geneva in all areas over the rest of this year. The principal requirement is to move forward urgently in the following areas taken together: --

a) market access, where it is necessary, in particular, to cut tariff peaks for some products while moving to zero tariffs for others, as part of a substantial reduction of tariffs and parallel action against non-tariff barriers.

b) agriculture, where a framework must be decided upon to provide for specific binding commitments in domestic support, market access and export competition, so that substantial progressive reductions of support and protection may be agreed in each area, taking into account non-trade concerns.

c) services, where accord on a general agreement on trade in services should be reinforced by substantial and binding initial commitments to reduce or remove existing restrictions on services trade and not to impose new ones.

d) intellectual property, where clear and enforceable rules and obligations to protect all property rights are necessary to encourage investment and the spread of technology.

12. Progress on these issues will encourage final agreement in areas already close to conclusion, such as textiles, tropical products, safeguards and dispute settlement. Agreement to an improved dispute settlement mechanism should lead to a commitment to operate only under the multilateral rules. Taken all together, these and the other elements of the negotiations, including GATT rule-making, should amount to the substantial, wide-ranging package which we seek.

13. We will seek to ensure that regional integration is compatible with the multilateral trading system.

14. As we noted at Houston, a successful outcome of the Uruguay Round will also call for the institutional reinforcement of the multilateral trading system. The concept of an international trade organisation should be addressed in this context.

15. Open markets help to create the resources needed to protect the environment. We therefore commend the OECD's pioneering work in ensuring that trade and environment policies are mutually supporting. We look to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to define how trade measures can properly be used for environmental purposes.

16. We are convinced that OECD members must overcome in the near future and, in any case, by the end of the year, remaining obstacles to an agreement on reducing the distortions that result from the use of subsidised export credits and of tied aid credits. We welcome the initiative of the OECD in studying export credit premium systems and structures and look forward to an early report.


17. As the Gulf crisis showed, the supply and price of oil remain vulnerable to political shocks, which disturb the world economy. But these shocks have been contained by the effective operation of the market, by the welcome increase in supplies by certain oil-exporting countries and by the actions co-ordinated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), particularly the use of stocks. We are committed to strengthen the IEA's emergency preparedness and its supporting measures. Since the crisis has led to improved relations between producers and consumers, contacts among all market participants could be further developed to promote communication, transparency and the efficient working of market forces.

18. We will work to secure stable worldwide energy supplies, to remove barriers to energy trade and investment, to encourage high environmental and safety standards and to promote international cooperation on research and development in all these areas. We will also seek to improve energy efficiency and to price energy from all sources so as to reflect costs fully, including environmental costs.

19. In this context, nuclear power generation contributes to diversifying energy sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In developing nuclear power as an economic energy source, it is essential to achieve and maintain the highest available standards of safety, including in waste management, and to encourage co-operation to this end throughout the world. The safety situation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union deserves particular attention. This is an urgent problem and we call upon the international community to develop an effective means of coordinating its response.

20. The commercial development of renewable energy sources and their integration with general energy systems should also be encouraged, because of the advantages these sources offer for environmental protection and energy security.

21. We all intend to take a full part in the initiative of the European Community for the establishment of a European Energy Charter on the basis of equal rights and obligations of signatory countries. The aim is to promote free and undistorted energy trade, to enhance security of supply, to protect the environment and to assist economic reform in Central and East European countries and the Soviet Union, especially by creating an open, non-discriminatory regime for commercial energy investment.

Central and Eastern Europe

22. We salute the courage and determination of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in building democracy and moving to market economies, despite formidable obstacles. We welcome the spread of political and economic reform throughout the region. These changes are of great historical importance. Bulgaria and Romania are now following the pioneering advances of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Albania is emerging from its long isolation.

23. Recognising that successful reform depends principally on the continuing efforts of the countries concerned, we renew our own firm commitment to support their reform efforts, to forge closer ties with them and to encourage their integration into the international economic system. Regional initiatives reinforce our ability to co-operate.

24. All the Central and East European countries except Albania are now members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. We welcome the steps being taken by those countries that are implementing IMF-supported programmes of macro-economic stabilisation. It is crucial that these programmes are complemented by structural reforms, such as privatising and restructuring state-owned enterprises, increasing competition and strengthening property rights. We welcome the establishment of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has a mandate to foster the transition to open, market-oriented economies and to promote private initiative in Central and East European countries committed to democracy.

25. A favourable environment for private investment, both foreign and domestic, is crucial for sustained growth and for avoiding dependence on external assistance from governments. In this respect, technical assistance from our private sectors and governments, the European Community and international institutions should concentrate on helping this essential market-based transformation. In this context, we emphasise the importance of integrating environmental considerations into the economic restructuring process in Central and Eastern Europe.

26. Expanding markets for their exports are vital for the Central and East European countries. We welcome the substantial increases already made in exports to market economies and we undertake to improve further their access to our markets for their products and services, including in areas such as steel, textiles and agricultural produce. In this context, we welcome the progress made in negotiating Association Agreements between the European Community and Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, as well as the Presidential Trade Enhancement Initiative announced by the United States, all of which will be in accordance with GATT principles. We will support the work of the OECD to identify restrictions to East/West trade and to facilitate their removal.

27. The Group of Twenty-four (G24) process, inaugurated by the Arch Summit and chaired by the European Commission, has mobilised $31 billion in bilateral support for these countries, including balance of payments finance to underpin IMF-supported programmes. Such programmes are in place for Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. We welcome the contributions already made for Bulgaria and Romania. We are intensifying the G24 coordination process and we reaffirm our shared willingness to play our fair part in the global assistance effort.

The Soviet Union

28. We support the moves towards political and economic transformation in the Soviet Union and are ready to assist the integration of the Soviet Union into the world economy.

29. Reform to develop the market economy is essential to create incentives for change and enable the Soviet people to mobilise their own substantial natural and human resources. A clear and agreed framework within which the centre and the republics exercise their respective responsibilities is fundamental for the success of political and economic reform.

30. We have invited President Gorbachev to meet us for a discussion of reform policies and their implementation, as well as ways in which we can encourage this process.

31. We commend the IMF, World Bank, OECD and EBRD for their study of the Soviet economy produced, in close consultation with the European Commission, in response to the request we made at Houston. This study sets out many of the elements necessary for successful economic reform, which include fiscal and monetary discipline and creating the framework of a market economy.

32. We are sensitive to the overall political context in which reforms are being conducted, including the "New Thinking" in Soviet foreign policy around the world. We are sensitive also to the importance of shifting resources from military to civilian use.

33. We are concerned about the deterioration of the Soviet economy, which creates severe hardship not only within the Soviet Union but also for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The Middle East

34. Many countries have suffered economically as a result of the Gulf crisis. We welcome the success of the Gulf Crisis Financial Co-ordination Group in mobilising nearly $16 billion of assistance for those countries suffering the most direct economic impact of the Gulf crisis and urge all donors to complete disbursements rapidly. Extensive assistance is being provided by Summit participants for the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well as by the IMF and World Bank.

35. We believe that enhanced economic co-operation in this area, on the basis of the principles of non-discrimination and open trade, could help repair the damage and reinforce political stability. We welcome the plans of major oil exporting countries for providing financial assistance to others in the region and their decision to establish a Gulf Development Fund. We support closer links between the international financial institutions and Arab and other donors. We believe this would encourage necessary economic reforms, promote efficient use of financial flows, foster private sector investment, stimulate trade liberalisation and facilitate joint projects e.g. in water management, which would draw on our technical skills and expertise.

Developing Countries and Debt

36. Developing countries are playing an increasingly constructive role in the international economic system, including the Uruguay Round. Many have introduced radical policy reforms and are adopting the following principles:

(a) respect for human rights and for the law, which encourages individuals to contribute to development;

(b) democratic pluralism and open systems of administration, accountable to the public;

(c) sound, market-based economic policies to sustain development and bring people out of poverty;

We commend these countries and urge others to follow their example. Good governance not only promotes development at home, but helps to attract external finance and investment from all sources.

37. Our steadfast commitment to helping developing countries, in conjunction with a durable non-inflationary recovery of our economies and the opening of our markets, will be the most effective way we have of enhancing prosperity in the developing world.

38. Many of these countries, especially the poorest, need our financial and technical assistance to buttress their own development endeavours. Additional aid efforts are required, to enhance both the quantity and the quality of our support for priority development issues. These include alleviating poverty, improving health, education and training and enhancing the environmental quality of our aid. We endorse the increasing attention being given to population issues in devising strategies for sustainable progress.

39. Africa deserves our special attention. Progress by African governments towards sound economic policies, democracy and accountability is improving their prospects for growth. This is being helped by our continued support, focused on stimulating development of the private sector, encouraging regional integration, providing concessional flows and reducing debt burdens. The Special Programme of Assistance for Africa, co-ordinated by the World Bank and providing support for economic reform in over 20 African countries, is proving its worth. We will provide humanitarian assistance to those parts of Africa facing severe famine and encourage the reform of United Nations structures in order to make this assistance more effective. We will also work to help the countries concerned remove the underlying causes of famine and other emergencies, whether these are natural or provoked by civil strife.

40. In the Asia-Pacific region, many economies, including members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), continue to achieve dynamic growth. We welcome the efforts by those economies of the region which are assuming new international responsibilities. Other Asian countries, which are strengthening their reform efforts, continue to need external assistance.

41. In Latin America we are encouraged by the progress being made in carrying out genuine economic reforms and by developments in regional integration. We welcome the continuing discussions on the Multilateral Investment Fund, under the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative which, together with other efforts, is helping to create the right climate for direct investment, freer trade and a reversal of capital flight.

42. We recognize with satisfaction the progress being made under the strengthened debt strategy. Some countries have already benefited from the combination of strong adjustment with commercial bank debt reduction or equivalent measures. We encourage other countries with heavy debts to banks to negotiate similar packages.

43. We

Note: The declaration was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary but was not issued as a White House press release.

George Bush, London Economic Summit Economic Declaration: Building World Partnership Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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