PROTECTIONISM was no answer to the problems of industries threatened by imports from developing countries, Mr Frank Judd, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, told the general meeting of' the World Development Movement in Sheffield last week.
Mr Judd said the new industrial achievements of the developing countries should be seen as "a source of hope for millions of human beings in the Third World" and not as a threat.
"Painful though it is for those sectors of our industry which are facing increased competition from cheaper imports steel, textiles, footwear, shipbuilding we must resist the temptation to put up the shutters and try and seek salvation behind indiscriminate trade barriers. This is the blandishm ent of the Devil," he said.
There were moral, economic, strategic and structural imperatives which should determine our approach to world development but their success
depended on public support.
"Unless we can mobilise opinion in this country, unless we can mobilise opinion in the European Economic Community, unless we can mobilise opinion in the whole Western world behind the objective of a more equitable international economic order, we shall have failed not only this generation but succeeding generations."
Mr Judd criticised the complex language used in the "NorthSouth dialogue", which he said made the subject seem "distant or even dangerous" to many people in Britain.
He also had some harsh words for those in the Third World whose demands were excessive. He mentioned in particular the demand for generalised debt relief which he said could "scare the banks right off' and deprive the poor countries of investment income which they badly needed.
"Rhetoric sends spokesmen for the industrialised countries diving for their bunkers and the hatches are battened down," he said.