Reshaping the world’s trade system and reducing barriers to trade could accelerate medium-term growth and reduce poverty around the world, concludes Global Economic Prospects and the Developing Countries 2002: Making Trade Work for the World’s Poor.
The report urges further liberalisation of transport and services and suggests using more aid money as “aid for trade”. It suggests channelling aid into: finance, transport infrastructure, education for workers, and public sector trade-related institutions. It also remakes the case for a global health fund, as well as mechanisms to help poor nations use intellectual property protection to their benefit.
The report talks of expanding “policy advice that feeds into poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs)” as well as “integration studies” that underpin World Bank country assistance strategies”.
The authors recommend “rebalancing” the Uruguay Round Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to allow low-income developing countries, access to essential drugs and products at competitive prices. This would include “a more liberal use of compulsory licenses to stimulate competition in pricing”. The Bank also urges developed countries to put agriculture and textiles on the negotiating table.
Other resources on trade policy issues:
Coherence calls – a brief history
The Agreement establishing the WTO provides for cooperation between the WTO and the IMF and World Bank for the purposes of achieving greater coherence in global economic policymaking.
In 1994 at the first WTO summit in Marrakesh ministers requested the World Bank, IMF and WTO to cooperate to streamline global economic policymaking.
At the 1999 Seattle ministerial meeting, the WTO, World Bank and IMF issued a Joint Declaration on Coherence, indicating a commitment to trade liberalisation as the mechanism for global economic growth and stability.
Recent World Bank papers on trade
Agriculture and the New Trade Agenda in the WTO 2000 Negotiations: Economic Analyses of Interests and Options for Developing and Transition Economies
Trade, Standards, and Regulatory Reform
Database on Measures Affecting Trade in Services
Trade Policy in Transition Economies
Trade Policy Development Program
Previous Bretton Woods Update stories on trade: