The current mandate and objective of UNCTAD`s work in this area is to cooperate with CICS, FAO and CFCs by supporting them at their request and also benefiting from their specific expertise in individual raw materials, both in terms of the provision of information on goods and analysis work. Preconditions for negotiation. Empirically, if not theoretically, seems to be one of the main conditions for an international conference on raw materials to be an agreement: international agreements on raw materials (IIs) are essentially multilateral instruments of state control that support the international price of certain primary raw materials, notably through agreements such as export quotas or guaranteed market access. As a result, international commodity agreements must be distinguished from commodity study groups that lack fully operational responsibility; international non-governmental cartels; and the Combined Food Board (1942-1945) or the International Materials Conference (1951-1953), which involved international allocentric machines for a considerable number of primary raw materials in times of war-induced shortage. The proposed definition also excludes “close” forms of international commitments: (1) bilateral mass purchase agreements; (2) multilateral market control agreements for industrial products, such as the international cotton textile agreement negotiated in 1961; (3) sectoral integration schemes modelled on the European Coal and Steel Community or the European Economic Community`s Common Agricultural Policy; (4) plans for a commodity reserve currency; (5) proposals for international food reserves; and (6) measures to reduce tariffs or non-tariff restrictions on international trade in goods or services. International agreements on raw materials, in their modern form, can be dated to the Brussels Sugar Convention (1902), under which the major modern sugar exporters pledged to support the international market by abandoning national export subsidy systems. The most important agreement of the 1920s was the Stevenson Rubber Scheme, implemented by the British and Dutch authorities on behalf of their respective colonial territories in Malaya and the Netherlands, East India. This regime, which led to a sharp but ephemeral price increase (Whittlesey in 1931), was frankly restrictive and the experience under it was the main reason for certain protective measures introduced in Chapter 5 of the Havana Charter for an international trade organization (United Nations in 1947). Alternatives. Various efforts have been made to invent mechanisms other than international commodity agreements, to transfer purchasing power to less developed countries whose incomes have been cyclically or chronically depressed.

Some of these alternatives, such as commodity reserve currency proposals (United Nations, 1964a), would serve the objectives of foreign aid and international monetary “reform” to undermine the role of the price system as the main instrument of economic management in (relatively) free enterprises. Others acting through covert financial transfers (United Nations, 1964 b); Swerling 1964), the great advantage is that the price system, as a leader in economic resources, is not affected to a large extent.

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