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UNCTAD: Poor Countries Not Prepared for Globalization - 2002-04-30


A U.N. trade official has warned that many developing countries are ill-prepared for the global pressures to open markets to international trade. The warning came at a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Bangkok.

Developing and newly-industrializing countries are struggling with the pace of globalization, and are in need of support or greater access to international markets to overcome poverty. This was the message delivered at a meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development by deputy secretary general Carlos Fortin.

The meeting is a midterm review of UNCTAD's current four-year program on development and trade in the developing and industrializing countries.

An UNCTAD report released at the meeting said the sweeping changes in the global and regional economies are posing formidable challenges to countries across the Asia Pacific region. The report said challenges for many countries come amid increasing globalization and the accelerated efforts towards regional and subregional economic and trade cooperation.

Mr. Fortin, in an opening speech, said many poor countries acknowledge difficulties coping with rapidly changing international environment. He said globalization has unleashed forces that generate uncertainty, intensify poverty in poor countries and are difficult to control through unilateral action.

"Under these conditions expecting developing countries to further open their markets without providing effective multilateral support or giving them possibilities to export their way out of underdevelopment and poverty would be a self defeating strategy," Mr. Fortin said.

He said the recent successful World Trade Organization meeting on further trade liberalization will pose new challenges for UNCTAD in supporting developing countries during the next round of negotiations.