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.



The Costs of Protection to Developed Countries

All forms of protection, from a published tariff to an open or concealed subsidy, a quota on imports and other impediments to competition from abroad, involve intervention by government in order to assist particular domestic activities by placing foreign competitors under a handicap. The intention is usually to ensure the maintenance or enlargment of the resources engaged in the protected activity, either on a continuing footing or by giving time for a change of employment to some more remunerative activity. Sometimes there is a broader objective and the intention is not to favour any particular activity, but to achieve some radical transformation of the economy under close government control or to allow fuller employment of all available resources when international influences are exerting contractionary pressure.


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