Thursday, May 27, 2004

Trade 'not easing' poor's plight

Reuters reports:

International trade alone won't pull the world's poorest countries out of poverty and economic growth, though improving, still lags what is needed, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Poor countries need aid, and more of it, to improve economic and social conditions in nations where over half the population lives on less than one U.S. dollar a day, said the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

"The notion that it is enough to integrate into the world trade system and liberalise your economy, that's simply not working. More is needed," Carlos Fortin, deputy secretary general of Geneva-based UNCTAD, told a news conference.

Persistent mass poverty is not due to a lack of integration into the global economy nor to trade protectionism -- notions popular in the 1990s, when policymakers coined the phrase "trade not aid" to describe their approach to development.

Indeed, the biannual report said least-developed countries, or LDCs, were already more open to international trade than rich country members of the World Trade Organisation, or WTO, which promotes the global exchange of goods and services.
And I was under the impression that "a rising tide lifts all boats." Silly me.