Overview of developments in the international trading environment

image of Overview of developments in the international trading environment

Although the path of world trade growth has been uneven in the past few years (contraction in 1998, rebound in 1999 and 2000, followed by a slowdown in 2001), the fact that trade continued to expand faster than output is indicative of the increasing openness of national economies. Part of this development is due to the gradual but continued trend towards more liberal trade policies around the world. Fears that the failure of the Third Ministerial Meeting in Seattle to agree on an agenda for a new trade round would lead to a resurgence of protectionism have not, by and large, materialized. This is a tribute to the good sense of governments in conducting their trade policies. But credit also goes to the strength of the multilateral rules under the WTO, as well as commitments made under regional trade arrangements, which have made it more difficult to take protectionist measures. Members also agreed at their Ministerial Meeting in Doha, in November 2001, to build on these achievements and to put in place a comprehensive work programme to strengthen further the multilateral trading system. The recent accessions of the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei as the 143rd and 144th Members, respectively, of the WTO, will further strengthen the role of the multilateral trading system and the import of the upcoming negotiations.

Related Topics: The WTO ; Trade monitoring
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