The study analyses variations in prices and their impact on the evolution of primary commodity markets over several decades. Three case studies illustrate the markets dynamics of primary commodities (aluminium, natural gas and cotton). It underlines the dependency of developing countries on primary commodity markets and demonstrates how trade liberalisation and globalisation of primary commodity markets has modified the relationships between developed and developing countries in two directions:
-On the one hand, private firms are now free to develop diverse strategies on international markets within new trade rules based on free competition;
-On the other hand, South-South trade is increasing thanks to higher per capita incomes and faster industrialisation of emerging countries such as China, South Korea, India and Brazil. It concludes with the fact that the European Union, as a major importer and exporter, is in a position to play a leading role both in supporting European firms acting in primary commodity markets and in supporting actions to help Commodity Dependent Developing Countries (CDDCs) to strengthen their production capacities and to reduce poverty and unemployment.