The rich nations must be prepared to transfer ailing industries such as steel, shipbuilding "and perhaps even the automobile industry" to the poorer nations, rather than setting up protective barriers around them, Ambassador Fernand Spaak, head of the Common Market delegation in the United States, said yesterday.

At the opening session of a three-day symposium here for economic editors, bringing together speakers from the Common Market, Japan and the U.S., Spaak called for a dialogue to promote trade that would require sacrifices from both the developed and developing worlds.

He stresssed he was speaking "in a personal capacity" and not expressing official European Commission policy.

The rich nations have to accept that, in part, "our economic philosophy, as we have claimed to practice it, is no longer the sole norm of international trade," Spaak said.

In the past, the main goal of trade among the industrialized countries was "the optimal allocation of resources among themselves," he said.

But Third World nations are "impatient with their own pace of development," and the industrialized world must respond to its demands.

At the same time, the rich nations, fearful of job losses and a political backlash, have tried to prop up declining industries, Spaak noted. Except for agriculture, which he said "will never be wholly free and will always be subject to political constraints," Spaak called for a positive approach on the part of rich nations to abandon a protectionist stance and "to adjust the level of development between the advanced and less-advanced countries."

Spaak implied that if there were full cooperation and planning, the developing nations might temper their investment in additional textile facilites (if they) "are fully aware of the problems we face" and concentrate instead on "sectors of our market where supply is weak."

Spaak also said that governments must avoid political measures that distort trade. He counselled "intervening to counter intervention" -- that is, putting limits on government interference with international trade.