Oct 31, 1986


NEW YORK OCTOBER 29 (IFDA/THALIF DEEN) -- The Seventh Session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, scheduled to be held in July next year, offers a major opportunity to governments to re-dedicate themselves to multilateral economic cooperation in trade and development and to chart a new trend in development which has been stymied in a large number of developing countries, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD said here Wednesday.

Addressing an Ambassadorial meeting of the Group of 77, Kenneth K.S. Dadzie said that UNCTAD VII will have an importance by itself since countries would expect from it a number of concrete results.

But it would also play a role by positively influencing, as had been the case in previous conferences, the processes going on elsewhere, he said.

Dadzie specifically referred to the negotiating process of the "Uruguay Round", the efforts to find solutions to the problem of external debt and to deep-seated problems in the commodity trade.

"All these issues will be central to our negotiating effort in UNCTAD", he told the Group of 77.

He also singled out three issues -- namely shipping, transfer of technology and economic cooperation among developing countries -- which he said are of active concern to governments, both here and in Geneva.

With respect to the question of shipping and technology, he noted, the respective committees will be meeting in Geneva over the next several weeks.

In addition to carrying forward the work program in these areas, the deliberations in these two committees would provide an opportunity for an overall assessment of the state of developments in these key areas and which will be the backdrop for action to be taken at the conference.

With respect to technology, he said, it is evident that the implications for trade and development of rapid technological revolution will be a major factor in that assessment, in particular as it pertains to global structural change.

He added that the process of consultation on the international code of conduct on the transfer of technology has elicited a positive attitude from most of the governments and has led to a clearer understanding of the concerns expressed by them.

"I will continue to give my fullest attention to this process and to help create the necessary momentum in order to bring this process to a successful conclusion".

In the field of shipping, he noted, large and continuing imbalances between demand and supply of shipping tonnage and shipbuilding capacity have prevailed during this decade.

"These imbalances", he argued", "are accompanied by manifestations of protective policies which are familiar to U.S. from the trade field".

This too is a structural problem, reflecting trends in the world economy, and it will need to be seriously addressed by the committee on shipping.

He also told the group of 77 that another area of concern to which he attaches the highest importance, both for political and substantive reasons, is economic cooperation among developing countries (ECDC).

This prevailing world economic situation, he noted, accentuates the need to give practical expression to the concept of collective self-reliance.

In this regard, he said, the decision taken by the states members of the group of 77 in Brasilia last May, to launch the first round of negotiations for the establishment of the global system of trade preferences (GSTP) stands as an important landmark.

"The successful conclusion of these negotiations, within the time frame agreed upon, should now be a prominent aim of the developing countries, and we in the UNCTAD Secretariat are ready to help them achieve it", he said.

He also pointed out that it was a source of satisfaction that The Cairo Declaration adopted at the high-level meeting of the Group of 77 on ECDC had called for action in areas of South-South cooperation beyond trade liberalization, including supportive measures to stimulate production in developing countries and to strengthen the links between trade and finance.

In a final submission to the Group of 77, Dadzie said that another area to which he attaches great importance is to assist in the implementation of the follow-up to the programme of action for African economic recovery and development.

Many important aspects of the program, he added, fall within the preview of UNCTAD.

In response to the Secretary-General's instructions and in consultation with delegations in Geneva, he said, he has established within the Secretariat a special inter-departmental task force to identify, coordinate and monitor the action to be taken by UNCTAD to ensure the effective implementation of the scope of the programme.

He said he had designated a Senior Director to guide the work of this task force, which is now proceeding at full speed.

He said he would also like to raise, in this broad context, the priority he attaches to strengthening the role of UNCTAD in technical cooperation and to enhancing its collaboration with the UN development programme (UNDP) and other sources of extra budgetary funding.

The relevance of UNCTAD will continue to depend largely on the quality of its conceptual and analytical work and on the insights it is able to contribute on the functioning of international economic systems.

"However", he added, "we should not lose sight of the important contribution which technical assistance can make to consensus building on the one hand and to the effective implementation of international agreements on the other -- by assisting countries in the often difficult process of moving from the adoption of international instrument to their entry into force and in taking advantage of facilities available to them as a result of inter-governmental action".