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World Trading System and Development Concerns

By Martin Khor, | Third World Network | March 13, 2006

This paper deals with trade policy and the world trading system from a development perspective. It starts with a review of the debate on trade liberalization, openness and development (Section B) and makes some points on trade, development and problems faced by developing countries in looking towards balancing the growth of their imports and exports (Section C). The problems facing developing countries in their commodity exports are looked at, in particular the income losses experienced from falling commodity prices (Section D). While developing countries as a whole have increased the share of manufactures in their exports, and their share of world manufacturing exports, this picture is misleading as successful manufacturing exporting has been concentrated in relatively few countries, and the developing-country share of world manufacturing value-added has actually decreased (Section E).

The paper then examines the global policy frameworks that influence developing countries’ trade policy. It briefly reviews the role of loan conditionalities of the international financial institutions (IFIs) (Section F). A review is then made of the World Trade Organization (WTO), its objectives and principles, the problems arising from implementation of its rules, and specific agreements, including some recommendations on improving the situation (Section G). The effects of inappropriate import liberalization on industry and agriculture in developing countries are briefly looked at (Section H). Recent developments in the WTO, including the decision at its General Council meeting of July 2004, are analyzed (Section I). The paper concludes with proposals on making the global trading system more oriented towards development needs (Section J).

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Read More: Development, Poverty, Trade, Malaysia, Global

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