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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