An Integrated Programme for Commodities
Developments in the world economy in 1974 and those now more clearly foreseen for 1975 give added force to the sense of urgency expressed by the Trade and Development Board at the first part of its fourteenth session in calling for a new approach to international commodity problems and policies (resolution 124 (XIV)). The emphasis that now needs to be placed without delay on an international approach to problems of food and raw materials is being shaped by world events. Most important, it is now evident that a serious slowdown is occurring in economic activity in the major industrial countries, accompanied by unabated inflation and radical change in the international payments situation. The transmission of adverse effects to the economies of primary producing countries must be prevented by policies that maintain over-all levels of effective demand and prices for exports. International action on commodities must be prepared to deal with this prospect. Secondly, the imbalances in commodity supply and demand since 1972, together with oil developments and the food crisis, have stimulated a fundamental rethinking of the features of an international trading system that will assure vital supplies to importers, and give adequate incentives to primary producers. This concern is heightened by the extent of the recent upward fluctuations in commodity prices, and the important initiatives taken by producing countries in these circumstances to redress the balance of bargaining power in trade through co-operative association. An integrated commodity programme must incorporate better assurances as to supplies and markets, and greater price stability at levels that are adequate for producers and equitable to consumers; it should also allow for the constructive organization of producers in order to influence the operation of the institutional framework in international trade relations. Thirdly, present difficulties are symptomatic of long-term structural problems in developing economies brought about by concentration and over-dependence on primary production and export. An integrated programme ought therefore not to impede but should rather encourage diversification in agriculture and diversification (especially vertical) in the economy in general, based on fuller co-operation between industrial countries and the primary producing countries in their general trade policies.
KeywordsNatural Rubber Commodity Trade Common Fund International Commodity Compensatory Financing
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- 1.General Assembly resolution 3202 (S-VI), Sect.1,3, para, (a), (iv).Google Scholar
- 2.The General Assembly’s Programme of Action called, in this respect, for “a link between the prices of exports of developing countries and the prices of their imports from developed countries” (Sect. I,1, para, (d) of resolution 3202 (S-VI)).Google Scholar
- 3.Including the suitability of preferential terms for exports to developing countries where appropriate and technically feasible.Google Scholar
- 4.The findings of UNCTAD studies on marketing and distribution of certain products will also be relevant to this objective. This programme of studies is being carried out in pursuance of Conference resolution 78 (III), and is the subject of a report to the Committee under agenda item 7.Google Scholar
- 5.See TD/B/C.1/166/Supp.3 in which more formal multilateral contractual arrangements are considered.Google Scholar
- 6.TD/B/C.1/166/Supp.1, paras. 41-43.Google Scholar
- 7.Op. cit. para. 8.Google Scholar
- 8.See alsp para. 71 below, for the views of the World Food Conference of relevance to this question.Google Scholar
- 9.The complexity of the fats and oils group would entail careful examination of the feasibility of stock operations. Moreover the question of which particular coarse grains, and which particular vegetable oilseeds or oils, should be stocked would be a matter for further study. It might be possible to limit stock operations to certain key commodities in each group.Google Scholar
- 10.Provided adequate facilities were available to them for the financing of stocks, exporting countries might not wish to conclude “symmetrical” contractual arrangements with importing countries, that is, arrangements incorporating a reciprocal commitment by the latter countries.Google Scholar
- 11.See the report submitted by the UNCTAD secretariat to the intensive intergovernmental consultations on cotton held in April 1974 (TD/B/C.1/CONS.14/L.2, paras. 34 and 35).Google Scholar
- 12.TD/B/C.1/166/Supp.4.Google Scholar