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New Left Review I/23, January-February 1964

Richard Fletcher

Labour and Foreign Trade

The approach of the gatt (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) ‘Kennedy’ Round, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, is an appropriate time to recall the circumstances which surrounded gatt’s foundation.

Between November ’47 and March ’48 the United Nations, with the active support of the British Labour Government, held a Conference at Havana on Trade and Employment. At the Havana Conference delegates from all the principal member countries (including Harold Wilson, the British delegate) agreed to a charter for the proposed International Trade Organization (ito) which was to be one of the main un agencies. In retrospect the Havana Charter can clearly be seen to have offered a solution to many of the major problems which plague the under-developed countries today. Fluctuations and decline in the price of primary commodities has robbed these countries of the development capital they so urgently need and has made nonsense of their attempts to plan and programme industrialization.

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