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Annan says developing countries should get "a fair chance" in the global market
( 2002-02-05 10:49 ) (7 )

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on rich countries to open their markets and end farm export subsidies to give poor countries a chance in the global market, in an op-ed piece published in the Financial Times on Monday.

"No one is better placed than business leaders to refute the arguments of protectionists and penny-pichers," wrote Annan, who was attending the World Economic Forum of global economic and business leaders in New York.

"They are the ones who can make the most persuasive case for opening the markets of rich countries to labour-intensive products from poor ones and for and end to the farm export subsidies that make it impossible for farmers in poor countries to compete," he said

Poor countries, for their part, "need to get their houses in order so that they can mobilise domestic resources and attract and benefit from foreign private investment," Annan continued.

"But they must be given a fair chance to export their products and many of them need financial and technical help -- to build up their infrastructure and capacities -- before they can take advantage of the global market."

Annan lamented that he had been assailed by some for attending the World Economic Forum, with critics saying he had aligned himself "with the glitterati and the global elite, turning my back on the down-trodden masses who -- in those people's eyes -- are victims of globalisation."

"Their problem is not that they are included in the global market but, in most cases, that they are excluded from it," he said.



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