World Trade Parleys

March 11, 1964

Report Outline
Approaching U.N. Conference on Trade
Thirty-Year Effort to Lower Trade Bars
Preparations for Kennedy Round in Gatt

Approaching U.N. Conference on Trade

Future patterns of world trade, and the volume of international exchanges, may be determined to an important extent by the work done at two conferences of global dimensions soon to get under way. A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, attended by representatives of nearly every country, is to open in Geneva on March 23. Six weeks later, on May 4, the long-awaited “Kennedy round” of tariff negotiations among member countries of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade will begin in the same city. The business of both parleys will include proposals aimed to improve the trading position of underdeveloped countries. To that end, the United Nations conference is expected to urge establishment of a universal trade organization, while GATT is likely to prefer action within the existing framework of regional trade blocs.

Origin And Agenda Of United Nations Parley

Plans for a U.N. parley on world trade date from 1961, when a resolution adopted by the General Assembly directed the Secretary General to consult member countries on the advisability of holding such a meeting. The following year, both the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly voted to convoke the conference and to draw up a provisional agenda. Finally, on July 18, 1963, the Economic and Social Council set the date and place for the parley. In doing so, it declared that “Economic and social progress throughout the world depends in a large measure on an expansion in international trade” and on “an increasing participation of developing countries in it.”

The Economic and Social Council at the same time approved a provisional agenda for the trade conference. It included the following seven points:

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