Under-developed countries should liberalise trade too


Dear Sir,

The church and charity leaders who signed the letter to The Times (Bad

Trade, 27th September) should realise that by making such definitive

statements about difficult, technical and subjective economic matters

they undermine their authority when they speak out on subjects within

their realm of expertise. We would all like the EU to pursue a policy of

unilateral free trade. However, it cannot be an “injustice” to negotiate

with other countries to take down trade barriers together. The

correspondents make two fundamental errors. The fact that two parties

are unequal is not a reason for one side keeping trade barriers –

differences between countries raise the gains from trade to all parties.

Secondly, the maintenance of trade barriers will not help poor countries

prosper. The most protectionist countries are the poorest. Trade

barriers in poor countries lead to resources being allocated to

industries where they are least productive, raise prices for consumers

and provide a vehicle for corruption. This is a recipe for stagnation

and poverty and not for development.

Yours faithfully,

Professor Philip Booth

(Editorial and Programme Director, Institute of Economic Affairs and UK

Co-ordinator of Enterprise Africa!, Westminster)

Dr. Fredrik Errxon

(Director, European Centre for International Political Economy)

The Revd Dr Mark Hart

(Rector of Plemstall & Guilden Sutton, Chester)

Dr. Andrew Lilico

(Managing Director, Europe Economics, London)

Professor Patrick Minford

(Cardiff Business School, Cardiff)

Dr. Mark Pennington

(Queen Mary College, London)

Dr. Razeen Sally

(London School of Economics)

Professor J. R. Shackleton

(Dean, Westminster Business School, London)

Alex Singleton

(President, The Globalisation Institute, Brussels)

Linda Whetstone

(Chairman, International Policy Network, London)

see also
Economic Affairs 27.2 for a series of articles on trade and enterprise solutions to poverty in Africa