Tag Archives: world bank

Australian food trade barriers revealed

The World Bank’s World Trade Indicators (WTI) are a relatively new, but very powerful, way of describing global trade policies and regulations. Their simplified metrics help to reveal the ‘big picture’ that emerges from a blizzard of trade and tariff data collected by the UN and WTO. Their method is theoretically sound but—as always—has limits and perspectives that need some interpretive care.

The latest (2008) results show world trade barriers continuing to fall rapidly through 2007

Over the last decade, countries have improved many aspects of policy relevant for trade. Worldwide, Most Favored Nation (MFN) average tariffs have fallen from 14.1 percent during 1995–99 to 11.7 percent during 2000–04 and further to 9.4 percent in 2007—a decline of more than 33 percent. In addition, a substantial amount of trade is conducted at a zero MFN tariff rate (MFN-0) or through preferential trade agreements… The most recent estimates indicate that all regions and income groups have witnessed substantial real growth in trade during this time. In 2007, average real growth in trade, 7.7 percent for the world as a whole, is within the 7–9 percent growth range of the last decade.

But one result that surprises is the very high level of revealed non-tariff protection of Australian agriculture.

An encouraging Growth Report

Commission On Growth

I have had a chance only to skim the Introduction but I already like the Report from the Commission on Growth and Development. Its understanding of economic development testifies to the authors’ deep experience. Examine a developing economy sinking into poverty and you will usually find difficult circumstances (geography, demography, history) but also, in every case, government that is mediocre at best; often self-serving and unaccountable.

Successful cases share a further characteristic: an increasingly capable, credible, and committed government. Growth at such a quick pace, over such a long period, requires strong political leadership. Policy makers have to choose a growth strategy, communicate their goals to the public, and convince people that the future rewards are worth the effort, thrift, and economic upheaval. They will succeed only if their promises are credible and inclusive…