Protectionism: Threat to International Order

The Impact on Developing Countries, Report by a Group of Experts

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‘A major element in a sustainable international trading system is a fair and equitable place for the developing countries. We have sought through to identify their particular stake in the future trading arrangements. In translating the more distant objectives and aspirations into the details of immediate policies it is easy either to look wildly unrealistic or, at the other extreme, to seem overcautious. We have tried to steer a middle course.’ - From the Report.

‘The expansion of world trade, which has slowed down considerably in recent years, has not come to a halt. Unless special efforts are made, external trade is now not in a position to play its customary role as an engine of growth. With domestic demand depressed in many developed countries, recovery remains uncertain. It is against this sombre background that the Commonwealth Expert Group... has pointed the way ahead... in an area where there is a strong mutuality of interest between North and South.’ - From the Foreword by Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal.



Foreword by Commonwealth Secretary-General

When they met in Melbourne in October 1981 Commonwealth Heads of Government had much to say on the subject of trade and protectionism. They expressed anxiety over the trend to increased protectionism, awareness of the importance of expansion of world trade to economic recovery and growth, and agreement that governments should make further efforts to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers and achieve international accord on effective rules covering resort to emergency safeguards. They took special note that little progress had been made in eliminating quantitative restrictions against certain categories of manufactured exports of particular importance to developing countries, that the process of reducing barriers to trade in agricultural products had scarcely begun, and that the export of processed commodities continued to be constrained by trade barriers which escalate with the degree of processing.


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