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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (U.N.C.T.A.D.)

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (U.N.C.T.A.D.). A

conference convened in 1964 in response to growing anxiety among the developing countries over the difficulties they were facing in their attempts to bridge the standard of living gap between them and the developed nations. A further full meeting was held in 1968, a third meeting in 1972 and a fourth in 1976. The then Director-General of U.N.C.T.A.D., Professor r. d. prebisch, summarized the problem up in his report Towards a New Trade Policy for Development. The growth rate of 5 per cent per annum which was required for the developing countries to make progress in terms of real income per head implied a required import growth of 6 per cent. However, the trend rate of growth of their exports had been only about 4 per cent in value, and this had been reduced to the low figure of 2 per cent because of the deterioration in their terms of trade. If this relationship continued, they would suffer chronic balance-of-payments deficits which would lead to a worsening in their economic welfare brandt report). The problem could be tackled on two fronts: through measures (a) to offset the deterioration in the terms of trade and (b) to promote their exports. The terms-of-trade approach could be through international commodity agreements, which would be designed to prevent primary prices from falling, and through compensatory finance arrangements. Many compensatory financing schemes had been put forward before the convening of U.N.C.T.A.D., but had not generally proceeded beyond the proposal stage. Professor Prebisch suggested that the developed countries which benefited from the terms-of-trade shift should contribute to a fund which would be used to reimburse the losers. Professor j. e. meade has suggested that the transfer should be between the importers and exporters of primary commodities and based on the movement of price levels above or below agreed limits. A report by the Group of Experts of U.N.C.T.A.D., International Monetary Issues and the Developing Countries (1965), linked the problem with international liquidity. They proposed that the I.M.F. should be authorized to increase liquidity by the issue of certificates, distributed in proportion to agreed quotas to the developed countries in exchange for their currency. This currency would then be lent through the international bank for reconstruction and development to the developing countries. Professor Prebisch had suggested that the developing countries should be free to combine to discriminate against imports of manufactures from the developed countries, and at the same time the latter should give preferences (c£> infant industry argument). The distaste felt by the developing countries for the most favoured nation clause of the general agreement

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