UNCTAD suggests less developed countries implement Chinese-style protectionism

1 September 2006

Geneva, Switzerland, 01 Sept – The United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) suggested Thursday that poor countries be inspired by the protectionist model used by China since the end of the collective system in the 1980s.

In its annual report, the organization estimated that reforms called for by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would not make it possible to sufficiently stimulate growth or reduce poverty in country’s in the South.

Therefore UNCTAD suggested that poor countries be inspired by the protectionism implemented by China over the last twenty years.

The Chinese model, which has led to average growth of 9.6 percent per year over the last 15 years has shown itself to be “health, but different,” from the one put forward by the Washington-based institutions, said Heiner Flassbeck, an UNCTAD expert.

According to the report, “governments should protect companies in their genesis, if there are reasons for that, namely by use of customs rights, until such time as local producers can face up to international competition.”

UNCTAD’s suggestion comes at a time when five years of negotiations on a new world trade order have come to a standstill at the World Trade Organization (WTO), since the end of July.

Alongside a general difference of opinion on agriculture, some larger emerging nations, such as Indian and Argentina, refuse to open their markets up to imported industrial products, precisely in order to protect their nascent industries. (macauhub)