Libya is urging fellow African countries to devise ways to boost prices for raw materials they currently export so cheaply to the developed world, saying it was a cause of their poverty.
"We are poor because we are selling our raw materials at very low prices," Mahmud Mughrabi, Libya's assistant secretary for foreign trade, told a conference of African trade ministers ending late Wednesday.
"One ton of cotton fetches the same price as a ready-made suit in some developed countries," he said.
The trade ministers then adopted a Libyan proposal to start searching for a "mechanism" for Africans as a whole to bargain for higher prices when they hold their next annual meeting in Nigeria next year.
An Arab journalist asked if the Libyan call amounted to a violation of World Trade Organization rules by seeking to fix prices.
Egypt's Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Yusef Boutros-Ghali replied that the Libyan, whom he complimented for his "constructive" proposal, was simply asking for a study on how African bargaining power could be increased.
Any new mechanism would be tested for its compliance with global trading rules, he added - CAIRO (AFP)
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