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2008年7月 8日 (火)


(Jul. 8, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Cooperation vital to control food, oil prices

サミット開幕 食料高騰をどう食い止める(7月8日付・読売社説)

The Group of Eight summit meeting opened Monday in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, and the leaders of the G-8 countries started the three-day meeting with an outreach dialogue with the heads of nations of Africa, a continent suffering from poverty and famine.



Soaring food and crude oil prices have resulted in an ongoing "chain of crises" for the world economy. The effect, especially on poor countries, including those in Africa, has been serious. The meeting between G-8 and African leaders is symbolic of the issues burdening the Toyako summit meeting.



On Monday, the first day of the meeting, G-8 leaders reached an agreement on a policy to expand their food and development assistance to Africa and to endorse a special statement on food problems.



This is the first time that a G-8 summit meeting has taken up food problems as a main agenda item. We welcome the fact that the G-8 nations have strengthened their solidarity on such a theme.



In the special statement, the G-8 leaders likely will ask exporting countries to refrain from imposing export restrictions that have caused a sharp rise in grain prices. It will be a step forward, in that the request on export controls to be included in the statement will be stronger than the one made at the U.N.-sponsored World Food Summit in Rome in June, and the G-8 nations are to take concerted action for that purpose.



Ending export restrictions


Russia, a G-8 country, abolished its export duties on wheat and other agricultural products before the summit meeting, while other nations, notably India, have strengthened their export controls. We hope the abolition of export restrictions will be expanded.


It is likely that an international grain stockpile system, in which each country is assigned an amount of reserves, will be established to stabilize prices by making it possible to release stockpiles swiftly in an emergency.


The G-8 nations also will cooperate on the development and promotion of biofuel that will not compete with food production, and on increasing food production in Africa. Steady efforts are important to stabilize food prices in the long and medium terms.


On the second and third days, discussions will get into full swing on dealing with rising crude oil prices and the world economy, which faces a possible economic slowdown due to rising inflation.



Curbing speculation


The true test for the G-8 meeting will be whether it can strengthen supervision of speculative money flowing into crude oil and grain markets in a pessimistic reaction to the weak dollar.



Finding ways to increase market transparency and rein in speculation that has driven prices far above levels corresponding with actual demand will be the key to price control.


(transparency=透明性) (rein=手綱で操作する、コントロールする、調整する)

What concerns us is that any measures to counter soaring food and oil prices that will be crafted by the G-8 leaders, are likely to have little immediate effect.



Therefore, finding a way out of the U.S. subprime mortgage fiasco, which has contributed to the two crises, and stopping the weakening of the dollar is becoming more and more important.



Although the United States promulgates policies based on a strong dollar, the dollar continues to weaken as confidence in the U.S. economy is undermined. Given the need to stabilize the dollar, the United States must bear a heavy responsibly if economic recovery is to be achieved.


(promulgate=公表する、公式に発表する) (undermine=土台を崩す、崩壊させる)

We should expect that the world economy will continue to face an uphill battle to fully recover. The G-8 nations must further strengthen their solidarity to tackle these difficult problems.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 8, 2008)

2008780148  読売新聞)


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