WTO World Trade Report 2004

Some bombshells in this round up of world trade data and recent thinking on global economic policy. Don’t be fooled by the bland exterior: there are chapters on the role of efffective government in trade success (enforceability of contracts is a good proxy), the role of international cartels in theimport prices paid by developing countries (surprisingly big) and the best way to ensure that economies internalize their own environmental policy mistakes. There are also reports on recent thinking on knowledge spillovers and on the dangers to international trade policy ‘coherence’ posed by the way in which government sometimes act as if they are negotiating about private rights rather than about a public commons. Here’s what the WTO’s press release says, blandly, about the 2004 World Trade Report. bq. The Report stresses the importance of ensuring coherence in policy formulation, pointing out that inconsistencies in policy stances or neglect in particular areas can diminish valuable trading opportunities. The Report also demonstrates how trade policy itself can be part of the solution in these areas. (“WTO”:http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres04_e/pr385_e.htm)

    In- & out-sourcing

Do yourself a favour and don’t take this at face value. “Download(pdf file more than 3mb)”:http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/anrep_e/world_trade_report04_e.pdf the report (warning: about 3mb) and browse. Here are a couple of quotes to read while it downloads. h4. The cost of ‘hardcore’ cartels bq. Evidence points to the possibility that the benefits of effective measures to tackle international hardcore cartels could exceed the welfare gains from liberalizing certain impediments to market access in the context of the Doha Round … (estimates of the value of developing country trade affected by cartel pricing in the 1990’s: $81 billion). h4. The role of “effective government” in trade growth bq. China and Ireland are among the five fastest growing countries during the decade from 1991 to 2001, and they are countries with very different institutional structures and income levels. Despite these differences, the two countries have in common that their institutions are of higher quality than those of other countries with similar income levels

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