The Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE)
The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations found that several economic problems could best be dealt with regionally, It decided, therefore, to set up regional economic commissions, comprising members of the United Nations in the areas concerned and other members having special interest in those areas. Non-member States and territories of the regions may be elected as associate members. Economic commissions have been established for Europe, for Latin America, for Africa, and for Asia and the Far East. New Zealand's regional interest lies in the last commission. ECAFE was set up in 1947 and has developed a series of subsidiary bodies, including a Committee on Trade and a Committee on Industry and Natural Resources. The deliberations and findings of these committees could affect New Zealand's trade interests in the region. New Zealand therefore takes part in their work. For though New Zealand's economy differs greatly from that of some of its regional neighbours it shares with them a dependence on export trade to earn foreign exchange. This supreme importance of trade enables New Zealand to do specially useful work in ECAFE by attempting to remove barriers to the free trade in primary products in collaboration with its neighbours.
The value of the trade of the less developed countries is eight times greater than total aid given them. As direct aid can often be wiped out in a bad trading period, they consider it important that attempts be made to ease trade in primary products. New Zealand aims to cooperate with its regional neighbours in ECAFE in their efforts to raise their standards of living by faster economic growth based on expanding international trade.
The twenty-first ECAFE Conference was held in Wellington in 1965.