For use of information media - Not an official record
(Geneva, Wednesday 9 October)

07 October 1996

On the occasion of the current session of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board, the UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mr. Rubens Ricupero, will convene a symposium on the experience of rapid economic growth in East Asia. The objective is to draw lessons from their success for the benefit of developing countries outside the region. The symposium will be an informal gathering open to government representatives, members of the secretariat and the civil society. It will take place at the Palais des Nations, Room XXI.

The symposium is expected to inject fresh thoughts into the formal debate of the Board on this topic, which was introduced today and will resume on Friday. The symposium will consist of two panels, each of which will be introduced by two eminent persons. This year´s Trade and Development Report 1996 will provide background documentation.

  • 10:15 - 10:30 Welcome and introduction
    Mr. Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
  • 10:30 - 12:30 Global interdependence and economic development: is strategic integration still possible?
  • This panel will address the issue of whether changes in the world economy have made the East Asian experience any less relevant to today´s newly industrializing economies.

    All the economies of East Asia have successfully pursued an outward- oriented development strategy. However, this has not meant the wholesale liberalization of trade and investment policies. This reservation applies particularly to those countries which have been most successful. Rather, a sequence of reforms in line with their level of development, along with complementary policy measures aimed at building domestic industrial capabilities, have been defining characteristics. By some accounts recent changes in the world economy have removed these policy options; the increased mobility of capital - both FDI and portfolio flows - is a more potent influence on domestic economic developments, while surveillance of domestic trade and investment policies has been heightened under the WTO.

    Professor Deepak Nayyar, Centre for Economics Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
    Mr. Philippe Frémeaux, Editor, Alternatives Economiques, France

  • 3:00 - 5:00 Institutional reform and economic growth: beyond "the state versus the market"
  • This panel will address the questions of building an effective developmental state and the kinds of associated institutional reforms needed to generate rapid economic growth in today´s developing countries.

    The East Asian experience strongly suggests that the right kind of economic policies are not, by themselves, enough to generate sustained economic growth. The success of economic policies are also closely tied to institutions through which these are designed and implemented. The traditional "state versus market" debate has unduly simplified the institutional prerequisites and downplayed or ignored altogether the key role of the firm and financial institutions. By some accounts a "developmental state" with close ties to business but also with the independence and competence to pursue a national strategy has been integral to East Asian success.

    Professor Yasutami Shimomura, Graduate School of Policy Science, Saitama University, Japan
    Mr. Adrian Hewitt, Overseas Development Institute, Regent´s College, United Kingdom

    For more information, please contact:
    Yilmaz Akyüz, Chief
    Macroeconomic Section, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies
    T: +41 22 907 5841
    F: +41 22 907 0274
    E: yilmaz.akyuz@unctad.org
    Carine Richard-Van Maele, Press Officer of UNCTAD
    T: +41 22 907 5816/28
    F: +41 22 907 0043
    E: amanda.waxman@unctad.org


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