30 Apr 2009

SPC economist sees potential in turning Pacific resources into popular brands

11:42 am on 30 April 2009

A resource economist for the Secretariat for Pacific Community says there is potential for poor countries to trade their way to improved levels of economic development with primary commodities.

Tim Martyn from the SPC's Land Resources Division explains that by engaging with the local economy, developing countries can move their export sectors up the 'value added ladder' through agriculture, textiles, manufacturing, heavy industry and intellectual property.

But he says there are some obstacles.

"Industrial production's happening in developing countries now. But it's happening in particularly populous industrial countries with very low labour costs and so the first rungs in the ladder that other developing countries tend to start rising on the ladder from, aren't really available. And the key barriers for specific countries is that they have very high labour and transport costs, therefore they'll never be economically competitive in industrial exports."

Tim Martyn says although it is difficult for small developing countries to benefit from a liberal trading world, he sees potential in turning pacific resources into popular brands.