UNCTAD, an organ of the general assembly of United Nations (UN), was first convened in 1964. All members of the UN are members of the Conference and it has a permanent executive organ and a permanent secretariat. The major concern of UNCTAD has been to protect and champion the cause of developing countries against the restrictive trade policies of the developed countries, e.g. the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union and the American Agricultural Policy.
The main objectives of UNCTAD can be summarized as follows:
- To promote easier access of the export of developing countries to the markets of developed countries.
- To increase the flow of financial resources into developing countries in order to boost their positions in world trade, and thereby reducing their external debt burden.
- To evolve an international debt strategy aimed at restoring debtor countries external viability.
UNCTAD’s major success has been in pressing successfully for the Generalised System of Preferences by means of which some exports from developing countries are given preferential access to the markets of industrial countries. However, there has been no appreciable increase in the prices of commodity exports as well as export volume of the developing countries due to the general reluctance of developed countries to accede to the various proposals of UNCTAD.