Letter to The Times on trade and development from Philip Booth and nine others

Under-developed countries should liberalise trade too


Dear Sir,

The church and charity leaders who signed the letter to The Times (Bad

Trade, 27th September) should realise that by making such definitive

statements about difficult, technical and subjective economic matters

they undermine their authority when they speak out on subjects within

their realm of expertise. We would all like the EU to pursue a policy of

unilateral free trade. However, it cannot be an "injustice" to negotiate

with other countries to take down trade barriers together. The

correspondents make two fundamental errors. The fact that two parties

are unequal is not a reason for one side keeping trade barriers -

differences between countries raise the gains from trade to all parties.

Secondly, the maintenance of trade barriers will not help poor countries

prosper. The most protectionist countries are the poorest. Trade

barriers in poor countries lead to resources being allocated to

industries where they ar