The World Bank is ramping up its involvement in trade issues. Responding to the launch of multilateral trade negotiations at the 2001 WTO ministerial meeting in Doha, the Bank released an enormous handbook on trade issues on 26 June. The Bretton Woods Project is inviting feedback on the handbook’s 55 chapters, written by a collection of scholars, trade experts and Bank types, covering everything from the basic mechanics of the WTO to discussions on trade in services and intellectual property rights.
Internally, the Bank has created a new Trade Department which will bring existing trade work under one roof. The work is currently dispersed throughout various Vice Presidencies and the Regions. This change is, according to the Bank, “to improve our capacity to respond to this growing demand for Bank services on trade and to scale up the impact of our work. The new Department will combine the relevant, policy and analytic work, and capacity building on trade under one budget, which will also include resources from trust funds and initiatives such as the Integrated Framework.” The position of Trade Director has been filled by Frenchman Uri Dadush, with the Bank since 1992 and formerly appointed to both policy and development economics branches. Posts for trade economists are being created rapidly in both policy and research arms of the Bank.
The Bretton Woods Project is preparing a briefing on the Bank’s involvement in trade-related capacity building for release before the WB–IMF Annual Meetings in September. The briefing will examine concerns that the Bank and its particular policy biases is becoming too influential in the formulation of trade policy.
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