Hon. Mitchell Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs):
1 (a) Yes, Canada opposed General Principle Two because it called for the adoption of trading methods to eliminate discrimination based on socio-economic systems. This principle was put forward by the Soviet bloc which sought to eliminate all reference to trade restrictions based on strategic grounds, (b) Yes, Canada opposed General Principle Three regarding the sovereign right of each country freely to trade with other countries and freely to dispose of its natural resources because this right was not qualified by any reference to international law, to agreements freely entered into, or to relevant UNGA resolutions. (c) Yes. While Canada had no difficulty with that section of General Principle Seven which dealt with access to markets, we opposed the concept of stabilization
of commodity prices at artificial levels and the relating of those price levels to those of manufactured goods, (d) Yes. General Principle Eight sought to deal with the application of the most favoured nation principle to the question of tariff preferences for developing countries. At that time Canada was unable to accept this principle. Canada is, of course, among those developed countries which subsequently accepted the Generalized Preference Scheme established at UNCTAD II.
2 (a), (b), (c) and (d). Yes. While often sympathetic to the general tenets of these Principles, Canada could not, at that time, accept the phraseology which was in many cases unbalanced and arbitrary. For example, Principles Fifteen and Four concerned respectively the special needs of the least developed of the developing countries, and the requirement for all nations to pledge themselves to pursue policies designed to accelerate economic growth. The Canadian abstention in both cases reflected difficulty with the uncompromising text rather than disagreement on substance. Delegations of other major trading nations, including Canada, were likewise unable to envisage that national policies could feasibly be directed towards a completely new international division of labour (General Principle Five). Canada, together with other major aid donors, could not accept that there should be no element of discretion in the choice of aid recipients (Principle Eleven), that UNCTAD should prejudge the conclusion of an agreement on general and complete disarmament (Principle Twelve) or the implication that the colonial period had brought no economic benefit to developing countries (Principle Fourteen).
Subtopic: UNCTAD-GENERAL PRINCIPLES