The Problem of Inclusion, Developing Countries, and Global Trade
21 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005
Anger and optimism are coexisting themes related to the growing liberalization of international trade and the resultant transforming forces of globalization. While international trade and globalization offer the world community many benefits, there also appear to be negative consequences, particularly for least developed countries (LDCs). With increased trade and globalization has come an uneven distribution of the costs and benefits. This appears to have exacerbated inequalities of wealth and power within and between countries. The result is asymmetric interdependence where certain countries seem to prosper while others suffer. If trade is to benefit the LDCs and their poor constituents, more must be done to make them full and equal participants in the world economy. Particularly in the agricultural sector and the clothing and textiles sector, the industrialized countries need to remove their trade barriers in order for the LDCs to accrue the benefits of free trade and market liberalization. By fully embracing trade liberalization, the industrialized countries could allow the LDCs to realize substantial economic gains and move millions of people to positions above the poverty line. Thus, the reduction of trade barriers is an obligation of the industrialized countries if they wish the LDCs to prosper - as other nations have - in the new global economy. In promoting worldwide trade liberalization, the World Trade Organization (WTO) plays a crucial role. However, considering that the bulk of world trade is still between industrialized nations, and that the biggest WTO decisions have little or nothing to do with LDCs, the WTO may not be the best forum for promoting a comprehensive understanding of developing-world issues. Similarly, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can play important, but limited, roles in resolving developing-world issues. The United Nations (UN) provides a more natural forum in which to address the unique problems and concerns of LDCs. As a network of governments, the UN is better equipped for knowledge exchange, advocacy, and fair hearing of the problems plaguing the developing world. It is also a better source of legitimacy than are international financial institutions (IFIs). These characteristics provide the UN with the moral authority necessary to effect change to the benefit of LDCs.
Keywords: free trade, globalization, liberalization, least developed countries, less developed countries, trade, United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization
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