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22 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (1983-1984)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks22 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Journal of Common Market Studies
Volume XXII, No. 1 September 1983
0021-9886 $3.00

     A   Trade Strategy for the United


                            A. P. THIRLWALL
       Professor of Applied Economics, University of Kent at Canterbuiy

Despite lip-service paid to the importance of trade for economic growth,
and  growing  recognition that long run growth  is fundamentally con-
strained by the balance of payments, there has never been any attempt in
the  United Kingdom to develop a positive, coherent trade strategy.
Laissez-faire, laissez-passer has been very much the order of the day. The
result has been the slowest growth of export volume amongst developed
countries since 1950; massive import penetration in some sectors, and a
growing  and dangerous imbalance of trade in manufactured goods, all of
which  have  contributed to the slowest rate of growth of any western
country since 1950, and the most advanced state of deindustrialization (see
(8)). In contrast to the N.I.C.s (the newly industrializing countries) and
other developed  countries, many of which have  pursued an  aggressive
export-led growth strategy, the U.K. has become a prime D.I.C. (a deca-
dent industrialized country)!
  None  of the major  political parties has addressed themselves in any
detail to the promotion of an outward-looking trade strategy. In its election
manifesto, the Labour Party promised negotiations with large companies
to influence their purchasing and development policies with the aim of
preventing excessive import penetration and the promotion of exports, but
it did not spell out the means. With the intention of withdrawing from Europe,
however, and the threat of import controls, using tariffs and quotas, if these
proved necessary to achieve the objective of trade balance, the emphasis
would  clearly have been on the control of imports rather than the promo-
tion of exports. The Conservative manifesto says very little on the relation
between  trade and economic performance and  virtually nothing on trade
   This is the revised text of a lecture given at the UACES Annual Conference, York University,
January 5-7, 1983.

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