Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed on Friday the creation of a free trade areaamong members of the Group of 20 developing nations (G-20).
Lula presented the proposal to delegates of the G-20 meeting, underway in Brazil, to develop a common position for the coming round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to Brazil's state-run news agency.
"Why shouldn't we test this logic to its natural conclusion and have a free trade area for the countries of the South?" Lula askedG-20 delegates.
G-20, established in September during the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico, aims to unify the positions of the developing countries on the issue of agricultural subsidies which led to the failure of the Cancun meeting.
"This does not mean we are placing the developed nations aside, as they will continue being fundamental. Rather, we are going to fully exploit the potential among us, which does not depend on the concessions of the rich countries," said the Brazilian president.
Lula called on the G-20 representatives to carefully analyze this idea before the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) convenes in June 2004 in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.
"The voice of G-20, in addition to being heard in the WTO, gains resonance in every debate on the perfection of multilateralism. We have many allies, even in the developed world," said the Brazilian leader.
Lula stressed that the G-20 free trade area idea is nothing more than a concept for discussion at this stage and does not represent a concrete Brazilian government proposition.