FURTHER INFLUENCES OF OFFICIAL POLICY ON THE TRADING SITUATION
The operation of import licensing and exchange control in West Africa does not at present significantly affect the competitive position of the various trading firms in West Africa; it cannot be said to offer substantial advantages to the large firms.1 With the exception of certain specified commodities, imports from the sterling area are admitted under open general licence, that is, they can be imported without restrictions on source, quantity or importer. The principal exceptions are sugar, flour, oils and fats, tinned meats and petroleum products. In most cases the reason for these exceptions is that the sterling area is on balance a net importer from dollar sources; in one or two instances the shortage in the United Kingdom is a principal or a contributory factor. Much the same controls apply to imports from soft currency sources outside the sterling area; with the exceptions just listed, they are admitted practically freely.2
Imports of all commodities from hard currency sources, as well as the import of certain commodities from other sources, are subject to specific controls (specific licences). At present, therefore, import controls or exchange controls substantially affect only American and Japanese goods, as well as flour, sugar, petroleum products, tinned meats and oils and fats from all sources. In 1949-50 these restrictions affected sources and commodities which in a reasonably prosperous pre-war year represented about 20-25% of West African imports; as a result of relaxations in 1950 the corresponding proportion in the second half of that year was about 15-20%. This applies to the pre-war pattern of the import trade; with free importation the proportion of imports from these sources in recent years might have been higher.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: West African Trade:A Study of Competition, Oligopoly and Monopoly in a Changing Economy. Contributors: P. T. Bauer - Author. Publisher: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. Place of publication: Cambridge, England. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 172.
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