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Manmohan seen as G20’s new free market evangelist

business Updated: Mar 16, 2009 23:37 IST
Vijay Dutt
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A former British Trade Secretary thinks Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an economist by training, can combine with British counterpart Gordon Brown to talk US President Barack Obama out of protectionist inclinations.

Patricia Hewitt, about to become the chairperson of the Indo-British Council, a bilateral trade promotion body also sees a possibility of an India-European Union free trade agreement soon because India’s economy was growing well.

“Dr Singh, a noted economist and Brown, a highly successful Chancellor, can convince President Obama, during G20 Summit in London, that protectionism is not the panacea for economic recovery and should not be incorporated in the Congress’s economic recovery package,” Hewitt said.

Group of 20 (G20) leaders from the world’s top 20 economies accounting for 85 per cent of the world’s output are due to meet in London on April 2 to decide the future course to revive the world economy following the global crisis triggered by events in the US.

The US has been leaning towards protectionist policies — such as denial of tax breaks to firms that send jobs overseas. Hewitt said such policies have been criticized by other nations and is contrary to the World Trade Organisation rules.