Friday, Dec 19, 2003
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He was delivering the keynote address at a consultation organised by a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) here on Thursday.
Mr. Shukla said the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) among developing countries, launched by the Group of 77 at the New Delhi meeting in July 1985, which had come up in response to the threat posed by GATT during the Uruguay Round of negotiations, had been a political initiative of far-reaching consequences.
After several rounds, a treaty came into being in 1989, which for the first time provided a comprehensive multilateral framework for developing countries to strengthen their mutual trade and economic cooperation. It was seen as a timely, strategic response on the part of developing countries, signalling collective resistance to the Uruguay Round, Mr. Shukla said.
However, within two years, the political will of leading developing countries floundered in the wake of pressures exercised by powerful industrialised countries, Mr. Shukla said. The U.S., the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund found a willing ally in the developing countries' ruling elite, who were only too willing to adopt neo-liberal economic policies seeking integration of their economies with the advanced capitalist countries.
The vision of collective self-reliance, which had inspired developing countries for three preceding decades, virtually "disappeared", Mr. Shukla lamented, and said that the concept of preferential set-up for mutual economic cooperation among developing countries was forgotten.
However, the failure of the Cancun meeting had brought some gains for this initiative. Despite the dangers stalking the moves to initiate policies of collective self-reliance, the fact was that an alternative multilateral framework for mutual trade and economic cooperation among Third World countries was already available.
Today's consultation was organised by the NGOs VANI, PAIRVI, Oxfam Trust, and Equations.
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