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.



Malfunction in the Trade Regime: The Growth of Protectionism

Though less comprehensive in its coverage than the proposed International Trade Organization (ITO) for which it substituted, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has nevertheless been the central institution in the world trading regime for 35 years. Above all, it was originally designed to encourage the dismantling of the barriers to international trade which had accumulated during the 1930s and the Second World War, and to prevent a relapse into the protectionist excesses of previous periods. The GATT thus found its raison d'etre in, and was influenced in the formulation of its operational procedures by, the bitter experience of the immediate past.


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