Jun 17, 1988


GENEVA, JUNE 15 (IFDA) -- While third world countries are individually taking unilateral actions for liberalisation of imports, protection and pressures for protection remained high in industrialised countries.

This was brought out Wednesday at the six-monthly special session of the GATT Council when it reviewed developments in the trading system, according to the GATT spokesman.

In recent years, the IMF and the World Bank through their surveillance and lending programmes have been pressuring third world countries to liberalise trade regimes by reducing tariffs and eliminating or reducing non-tariff barriers in the shape of quantitative restrictions.

But beyond general public statements the IMF and the Bank are not exercising any such corresponding pressures on the industrialised countries. Since the latter do not have recourse to the finances of these institutions, they are also immune to pressures from these institutions.

The GATT Secretariat report to the special session, and statements by individual delegations, showed that such liberalising actions have been taken by 16 third world countries, as also Australia and New Zealand, and Canada on some textile items (which are however subject to quotas under the MFA).

A number of third world participants in their comments in the special session drew attention to these unilateral measures, and said that there should be recognition of these actions in terms of demands on them for "contributions" in the Uruguay round.

A number of Cairns Group members drew attention to the problems faced by the "efficient" agricultural producer/exporters, because of the competititve subsidisation policies of the United States and the EEC.