From a statement released by Barber B. Conable, president of the World Bank, Dec. 18:
Many developing countries, already struggling with debt burdens, environmental crises and chronic poverty, have made difficult political and economic choices in their efforts to liberalize their trade regimes. Recognizing the potential gains from more open economies, they have demonstrated an increasing commitment to trade liberalization. It is a cruel irony that the industrial countries which dominate world trade have, so far, lacked the political will to conclude the negotiations positively.
Industrial country trade barriers are estimated to cost developing countries $100 billion in forgone income. This amount is twice the interest paid annually by developing countries on their public external debt and is twice the annual OECD official development assistance.
All countries benefit from a liberalized world trading system. The failure of industrial countries to agree to open markets further and fortify the GATT system is short-sighted. Removal of agricultural trade barriers alone would raise the combined income of industrial countries by more than $50 billion a year -- the same amount they spend on aid. Similarly, the removal of restrictions on trade in textiles and clothing would yield significant benefits to industrial countries. Developing countries would gain considerably from liberalization of world trade in these areas.
The countries of Eastern Europe would be major beneficiaries of freer trade. A new, more liberal trade agreement is needed to bolster their efforts to carry out sweeping economic and political reforms and to integrate their economies into the world economy.