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Trade liberalization, industrialization and development; experience of recent decades

Shafaeddin, Mehdi (2010): Trade liberalization, industrialization and development; experience of recent decades. Forthcoming in: Third World Network (2010)

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Abstract

Reviewing the experience of developing countries in recent years as well as successful industrialization in developed countries in previous centuries, the author explains that trade liberalization is necessary for industrialization if: it is regarded as a part and parcel of a dynamic and flexible trade and industrial policies; undertaken in the right time, gradually and selectively. More importantly, trade policy is to be an ingredient of a comprehensive set of industrial and development policies and measures to enhance the capabilities of firms for establishing industries, making them efficient and upgrading them. By contrast, if it is undertaken, pre-maturely, rapidly and uniformly, i.e. across-the-board, as advocated by Neo-liberals and proponents of “Washington Consensus”, it will lead to de-industrialization and unemployment; it will lock the country in specialization in production and exports of primary commodities and at best natural resource-based products, and/or labour intensive stage of assembly operation. He further, discusses changes needed in WTO rules and practices of International Financial Institutions to make them “development friendly”.

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