Cooperation among developing countries in the field of trade, investment and other sectors could soften the blow of the economic crisis on vulnerable economies, the head of the United Nations agency that promotes commerce to fight poverty has said.
"A global financial crisis has shaken the economic foundations of the North, and is threatening to shatter the growth and development aspirations of the South," Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, said.
Opening the Multi-Year Expert Meeting on International Cooperation: South-South Cooperation and Regional Integration, he said the timing is right to explore how greater South-South cooperation can help developing countries to cope with the crisis.
Supachai said merchandise trade between developing countries grew at an average of 13 per cent per year from 1995 to 2007, and at the end of that period amounted to $2.4 trillion, or 20 per cent of world trade.
According to UNCTAD, one-third of the exports were high-skill manufactured goods, which yielded high
profits and could enable developing nations to diversify their economies.