New Bank report sets out trade agenda

2 November 2001

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.

Global Economic Prospects and the Developing Countries 2002: Making Trade Work for the World’s Poor

Other resources on trade policy issues:

Third World Network

WTO Watch


International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

One World

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

More WTO-World Bank-IMF cooperation trade , Bretton Woods Update 25

Previous Bretton Woods Update stories on trade:

World Bank to “intensify” work on trade World Bank intensifies trade work, but cancels conference Knowledge Bank takes on trade, but credibility questioned

Trade discussions at new European seminar launch