Brown says free trade still matters

GORDON BROWN last night assured the City that Britain would remain a &ldquo;free trading&rdquo; and &ldquo;internationalist&rdquo; nation as he addressed the Lord Mayor&rsquo;s Banquet at the Guildhall.<br /><br />And he said the world should continue to work together to solve economic issues.<br /><br />Brown said: &ldquo;Can anyone today seriously believe we can tackle the recession better without the European Union and the G20?&rdquo;<br /><br />With his government under pressure after the bloodiest year so far for troops in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister also raised the prospect of an exit timetable for British forces in Afghanistan.<br /><br />He said a summit of Nato allies in London in January would put in place a process for transferring control back to Afghan government forces control and &ldquo;if at all possible set a timetable for transfer starting in 2010.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;I want that conference to chart a comprehensive political framework within which the military strategy can be accomplished,&rdquo; Brown said.<br /><br />And he claimed that almost half of al-Qaeda&rsquo;s leadership had now been killed.