In this two-part series, Martin Khor addresses issues relating to debt and international trade. Since the debt crisis began in the 1970s, many developing countries have had to agree to new loan conditions imposed on them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These conditions, of benefit to many western commercial interests, often prevent national governments from implementing their own key economic, development and environmental policies. Trade liberalization is one such condition. Dr Khor describes the adverse effects a liberal trade agenda can have on these countries, particularly on their farmers and small industries. He argues that developing countries must be given the freedom to adopt policies of their own. Finally, he welcomes the G8’s decision to cancel the debt of some 18 countries, but warns that the terms and scope will need careful study.
Martin Khor is the Director of the Third World Network (TWN) and editor of its monthly publication Third World Resurgence. He has led TWN since its inception in 1984, advocating on behalf of citizen groups throughout the developing world on a wide number of development issues. These include environmental sustainability, the protection of human rights and the impact of corporate-led globalization. A former economist and university lecturer, he is also an advisor and consultant to a number of United Nations agencies and other important international bodies. Dr Khor is author of several books on WTO reform, international trade and the global economy.