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23-04-2012 - Gulf Times

Refrain from protectionist policies

HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani yesterday called upon the developed countries to refrain from "protectionist policies" and help developing countries achieve sustainable development.

"The opening of developed countries' markets to the products of developing countries and their refraining from protectionist policies - whether explicit or implicit - are essential to strengthening developing countries potential for production and marketing, and helping these countries achieve sustainable development," the Emir said in his opening address at the 13th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

The developing and the least-developed countries could not realise their goals unless they perceived trade and development from a broader perspective, opted for hard work to move from an economy based on export of raw materials to a diversified economy depending on developing human potential and improving industries and services where they could excel, he said.

"This is not easy and requires the following: formulating development strategies in line with the general economic objectives of these countries and creating an investment climate for encouraging national and foreign capital."

He urged countries of the South to expand co-operation to increase inter-trade and promote integration and enhance research and development.

An international environment characterised by co-operation, he said, was essential to create a more just and balanced partnership and to narrow the economic gap between countries. This requires the developed countries to maintain allocating a percentage of their gross domestic product for poor ones as previously agreed upon and help open money markets to finance investments in developing countries.

Qatar, the Emir said, had adopted these requirements and was working to achieve them in the best possible way, whether it was related to compliance of its national strategy with its general economic objective or creating a stimulant investment climate for domestic and foreign capital, extending aid to the poorest countries and contributing to the global partnership for development.

The economic crisis that hit the world since the beginning of 2008 and which led to what was called the "great recession" was one of the most important events, which followed the last Unctad conference, he said.

Although that recession had officially ended in mid-2009, the "crisis is still casting a shadow" on the global economy and on 2012 and possibly 2013, the Emir said.

The "global economic crisis has delayed the development process" in most countries, especially the least developed ones. It also increased unemployment, brought misery to millions and led to fundamental changes in some countries.

"So tackling this crisis is the biggest challenge facing globalisation, which is based mainly on trade and development," the Emir said.

"This crisis was the outcome of fundamental imbalances in the economic and financial systems, institutions and policies which were not tackled in spite of all efforts made to achieve that at the level of the states concerned, individually or collectively."

Al-Kuwari elected conference president

HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, was elected president of the Conference of Unctad XIII during a high-level meeting yesterday. Qatar has officially taken over the presidency of Unctad for the next four years, becoming the first country in the Arab region to preside over the organisation since its inception in 1964.


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