International Commodity Agreements (ICAs) are essentially multilateral instruments of state control that support the international price of certain primary raw materials, including through agreements such as export quotas or guaranteed market access. As a result, international agreements on raw materials must be distinguished from study groups on raw materials that totally lack operational responsibility; international non-governmental agreements; and the Combined Food Board (1942-1945) or the International Materials Conference (1951-1953), which used international multipurpose machinery for a considerable number of primary raw materials in times of war-related shortage. The proposed definition also excludes the following „close“ forms of international commitments: (1) large-scale bilateral agreements; (2) multilateral market control regimes for industrial products, such as the International Cotton Agreement negotiated in 1961; (3) sectoral integration schemes along the model of the European Coal and Steel Community or the common agricultural policy of the European Economic Community; (4) plans for a commodity reserve currency; (5) proposals concerning international food reserves; and (6) measures to reduce customs duties or non-tariff restrictions in cross-border trade in goods or services. Despite serious drawbacks, the number of international agreements on raw materials has tended to increase and there is good reason to expect this trend to continue. On the one hand, through a series of moderate measures, the United States has moved from a position of doctrinal opposition to these agreements to a position in which official policy has become the willingness to cooperate, according to President Kennedy, „in serious case-by-case investigations into the problems of the commodity market.“ These agreements tend to be strongly favoured by less developed countries in order to „stabilize“ (i.e. increase) the currencies earned by their large exports. In Europe, international market-sharing agreements have enjoyed the active support of the French authorities for more than a decade.

© 2013 Lichtlabor-Berlin | wir bringen Licht ins Spiel