French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the leaders of the Group of Eight major industrial nations meeting in Japan should encourage oil-producing countries to boost output to prevent an oil-driven economic slowdown.
"To respond to rising demand" from emerging nations, "the G-8 should first encourage producers to increase production to avert the negative consequences of an international economic slowdown and a simultaneous pickup in inflation," the French president said in an interview published Sunday in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. The transcript of the interview was provided by Sarkozy's press office.
Leaders of the U.S., Japan, Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, Russia and Canada are meeting from Sunday to July 9 in Toyako, Northern Japan, as rising energy and food prices stoke inflation, damping global economic growth and eroding living standards.
Oil prices have doubled in the past 12 months because of concern future supplies won't be enough to meet demand from emerging economies such as China and India. Crude has also gained as the U.S. dollar declined and investors bought commodities to hedge against inflation.
The G-8 should also ask oil producers to disclose available supply and reserves, while oil-consuming nations should publish their inventories because the increase in oil prices is also due to a lack of market transparency, the French president said.
Rising food prices has already provoked social unrest in dozens of countries, and the World Bank has warned that inflation could push 100 million people deeper into poverty.
The G-8 may urge countries that haven't yet lifted restriction on food exports to do so, Sarkozy told the Japanese newspaper, without naming them. G-8 leaders may back his proposals to better coordinate food-aid programs of international institutions and non-governmental organizations, and to create a group of agriculture experts to help governments avert a food crisis, he said.
Sarkozy repeated his call to enlarge the G-8 into a G-13 by including emerging nations such as China, which are key to tackling issues ranging from monetary and financial imbalances to climate change. Rather than meeting large emerging nations only for a lunch, the G-8 could devote a full day of talks to them, he said.
Sarkozy said he'll come back to Japan "soon" for a bilateral visit. He said the business of Paris-based Areva SA, the world's largest nuclear-plant maker, should continue to progress in Japan.
Sarkozy also praised Airbus SAS's A380 superjumbo, in which All Nippon Airways Co., Japan's biggest domestic carrier, has expressed interest.