EBRD and WTO leaders urge open trade flows to prevent further economic downswing

By Anthony Williams

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The heads of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Trade Organisation said on Thursday it was now more important than ever to maintain open trade flows to prevent a further deterioration of the global economic situation.

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy met EBRD President Thomas Mirow at the EBRD headquarters in London during a visit to the UK.

President Mirow noted during the discussions that the EBRD was planning to double its financial support for foreign trade within the EBRD’s Countries of Operations. This was a crucial element in the Bank’s overall response to the crisis which is now fully hitting the EBRD region.

In response to problems facing companies involved in export trade, the EBRD aims to increase its level of support for foreign trade to up to €1.5 billion from a current ceiling of €800 million via its Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). The TFP provides guarantees to cover risks linked to trade financing instruments.

Mr Lamy thanked President Mirow for the EBRD’s rapid response to the crisis and its efforts to keep trade flowing.

Under its overall response to the current economic crisis, the EBRD has increased its planned level of investments in 2009 by 20 percent to €7 billion, targeting in particular the financial sector with a view to keeping open credit lines to small and medium sized enterprises.

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