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Bush Pushes Trade to Combat Poverty


President Bush says reducing world poverty is a major objective of U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Bush says promoting trade and freedom is key to meeting that goal.

President Bush says an effective strategy to fight global poverty starts with trade.

"Prosperity as a result of trade is more likely, 10 times more likely, to have a positive effect on somebody living in a poor society than just investment and grants," he said.

In an address to a group of American business leaders working to end global poverty, the president pointed to two success stories: South Korea and India. He said they have been able to pull millions out of poverty by opening their markets and promoting trade.

"I do not believe these are isolated examples. A World Bank study shows that developing nations that lowered their trade barriers in the 1990s grew three times faster than those that did not," he added.

Mr. Bush said free trade is crucial, and that open markets wipe out the need for subsidies. He said the current round of world trade talks is at a critical moment, noting many countries have tough decisions to make.

"Now is the time for the world to come together, and make this world a free trading world, not only for the benefit of our own economies, but as an important part of the strategy to reduce poverty around the world," he explained.

The president said promoting freedom is another way to fight poverty. He said nations that respect human dignity and the rule of law are more likely to create an economic climate that fosters prosperity.

"As more people gain their freedom, they will also gain the opportunity to build a better life. That is a fact of life," he said.

Mr. Bush called for Congress to approve his full foreign aid request. But he said as assistance increases, so must responsibility. He said once again that aid must be tied to accountability, and urged other countries to join the United States in battling corruption.