TFR 3 – A Turning Point in North-South Economic Relations


The time has come for new policies and new actions by the governments of the Trilateral region in their relations with developing countries. There is a crisis in North-South relations that requires two kinds of responses from the Trilateral governments:

First, there is need for a general restructuring of North-South economic relations for the purpose of creating a more just and workable world economic order. Such a new economic order should include, among other things, greater attention by both developed and developing countries to their growing interdependence, greater respect for the equal rights of all members of the world community under international law, the abolition of "spheres of influence," greater recognition of the differing needs and capabilities of different developing countries, the pursuit of cooperation rather than confrontation, the focusing of development efforts on the poorest segment of populations in developing countries, new rules and arrangements governing access to supplies as well as access to markets, and a restructuring of international economic institutions in the light of new political and economic realities. We propose to deal with the extremely complex questions involved in this restructuring in a later report to be issued early in 1975.

Second, there is need to deal with the desperate plight of nearly one billion people in some 30 resource-poor developing countries whose governments cannot pay the increased bills for oil, food, fertilizer and other products. At least $3 billion in extra concessional aid must be found for these countries in 1974-75 to avoid economic disaster. This situation calls for an extraordinary act of cooperation between the countries of the Trilateral region and the oil exporting countries of OPEC. The former bear a special responsibility because they have a vastly greater total national income and the latter bear a special responsibility because of the dramatic increase in their export earnings and therefore in their capacity to invest sums abroad. We believe it would be reasonable for the Trilateral world as a whole to provide about $1.5 billion of this total, with the OPEC countries providing the other $1.5 billion. In response to the appeal of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, contributions to this special emergency effort could be made through bilateral or multilateral channels and could take the form of cash, concessional sales of food, fertilizer and oil, and the cancellation or postponement of debt repayment. The Soviet Union should be invited to participate in this emergency assistance effort in the light of its considerable economic capabilities and the fact that it has benefited on the whole from the recent increase in raw material prices.


Richard N. Gardner, Professor of Law and International Organization, Columbia University, New York
Saburo Okita, President, Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, Tokyo
B.J. Udink, former Minister for Aid to Developing Countries, The Netherlands

Table of Contents

Summary of the Report

A Turning Point in North-South Economic Relations

  • Topics: Economics
  • Region:  North America
  • Publisher:  The Trilateral Commission
  • Publication Date:  © 1974
  • ISBN:  0-930503-56-2
  • Pages:  18
  • Complete Text: Click here to download