Trade and Payments in Western Europe: A Study in Economic Cooperation, 1947-51

By William Diebold Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
OBSTACLES TO LIBERALIZATION

NINE months were needed to remove quotas on half the 1948 trade among OEEC countries and nine months more to remove quotas on another 10 percent; several countries were unable to keep pace even at this rate; still another nine months passed before the liberalization target was set at 75 percent.

This bald (and slightly unfair) summary of the liberalization program from mid-1949 to the fall of 1951 highlights the apparent slowness of the procedure. Behind the slowness lay difficulties, actual or anticipated, which made governments cautious. They wanted to be sure to protect national economic policies and were concerned about the effect of liberalization on their foreign payments. But their cautious attitude also reflected the political influence of private interests protected by trade barriers. The usual difficulty of getting rid of tariffs and quotas is too familiar to need systematic or exhaustive treatment here. Instead, this chapter deals principally with obstacles to liberalization in a few specific situations. First, it presents short accounts of German and Danish experience. Second comes a summary, with a few illustrations, of some major factors hindering liberalization in a number of countries. Then the chapter ends with a discussion of the Stikker Plan, proposed as a means of overcoming obstacles to further removal of trade barriers.


Germany's Trade Deficit, 1949-50

During the first nine months of 1949, before liberalization measures took effect, Western Germany exported more to

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