Rt Hon Lord Lilley





    Hitchin and Harpenden MP, Peter Lilley, has launched an all-party campaign calling on the G20 to open their markets to the poorest countries and end the trade barriers that keep millions of people in poverty.

    Along with four prominent colleagues from across the political spectrum – John Battle MP, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Lord Hastings and Clare Short MP – he unveiled the Trade Out of Poverty (TOP) campaign in Parliament.

    Peter Lilley said: “We all share a profound belief that world poverty can be tackled if the richest nations open up their markets and simplify the rules to allow developing countries to play a bigger part in world trade. Trade is the way most countries achieve economic success. Yet the poorest countries account for 20% of world population but less than 2% of world trade.   By no stretch of the imagination are they a threat to our industries. Indeed, we will benefit as the poorest countries desperately need to import more of our products and will do so once we remove the obstacles preventing them exporting goods we want to buy

    “The current global recession makes action all the more urgent.   Protectionist sentiments are surfacing in Europe and the United States, but that’s not the way forward.   In the 1930s protectionism helped turn a recession into a prolonged slump. What we want to see are more open markets, not more restrictions on trade.

    “We have written an open letter to the leaders of the G20 group of developed nations calling on them to take a bold and positive initiative to help the poorest countries on earth.

    “Our campaign is backed by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof as well as Oxfam, CAFOD and leading businesses. We want everyone who cares about this issue to let their governments know what they think, and to support our campaign. There are more details on our website www.tradeoutofpoverty.org .”

    *  Picture caption: Peter Lilley launching the Trade Out of Poverty campaign with, from left, Clare Short, Sir Menzies Campbell and Lord (Michael) Hastings.



    FYI: Text of open letter to G20 governments is attached.


     Further information from John Allen