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CAMDESSUS CALLS FOR MEANINGFUL TRADE LIBERALIZATION UNDER URUGUAY ROUND BY MUSTERING POLITICAL WILL

 CAMDESSUS CALLS FOR MEANINGFUL TRADE LIBERALIZATION
 UNDER URUGUAY ROUND BY MUSTERING POLITICAL WILL
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Michel Camdessus, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said to counter the widespread worries stemming from the difficulties in completing the Uruguay Round of trade talks, the solution "depends now entirely on mustering the political will to bring (the round) to a conclusion in a way that produces meaningful liberalization of trade in goods and services, and a reasonable and transparent set of rules."
 Camdessus told the UNCTAD VIII meeting in Cartegena, Colombia, it was also important that those who are responsible for regional trading arrangement, whether in America, Asia, Europe or elsewhere, are scrupulous in ensuring that these arrangements are outward- looking rather than defensive and do not hamper the developing countries. As the world economic environment is not expected to be very buoyant in the years ahead, "slow growth at best in the industrial countries will inevitably constrain the scope for expansion in the developing world; and it may intensify the pressures in favor of protectionism, particularly if the Uruguay Round were to fail," Camdessus said.
 Camdessus said further improvements were "urgently needed" to help solve the debt problem. While many countries are succeeding in overcoming their difficulties, "others, including some of the poorest, still have a long way to go. ... On several occasions I and others have proposed desirable ways to strengthen the strategy. Surely it is time for some final decisions to remove the rest of this problem? It is possible. Ten years is enough," he said.
 Camdessus also stressed the importance of giving priority to some of the problems that public opinion in many countries rightly consider are among the most vital facing mankind today. There were many, and while they do not fall within the strictly defined jurisdiction of the IMF, Camdessus said he could not fail to mention two of them:
 "The international drug traffic and the associated 'laundering' of illicit funds" was, Camdessus asserted, "one of the most serious scourges of mankind today. We all commend the government of Colombia for its strong efforts to curb the illicit activities of the drug trade," he said, emphasizing that this should be matched by effective action in other countries.
 Secondly, Camdessus said, the continuing excessive growth of the world's population is constantly undermining the best efforts of governments and international agencies to foster more rapid growth in per capita incomes. "This problem is probably one of the most serious facing the human race. So


long as the rapid growth of population continues, vast portions of the human race are doomed to poverty and all the ills that accompany it."
 While Camdessus acknowledged that there were no easy solutions to this problem, he said it must be addressed in ways that were compatible with national culture and values. "But I am convinced that any effective approach must include a serious effort to improve the education and health of women, particularly in the rural areas of developing countries. Indeed progress in these areas has been painfully slow," he said. But, he continued, "this is an area where what is obviously desirable on social and moral grounds can also make a most productive contribution to sustained economic progress and improved living standards," and, in this context, he particularly welcomed the summit on the economic advancement of rural women that will be held in Geneva at the end of this month.
 -0- 2/11/92/1200
 /CONTACT: International Monetary Fund, External Relations Department, 202-623-7100/ CO: International Monetary Fund ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


TW-MK -- DC007 -- 8717 02/11/92 10:28 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 11, 1992
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