World Trade Report 2005

Exploring the Links Between Trade, Standards and the WTO

image of World Trade Report 2005

The report focuses on specific trade policy issues of current interest and reviews trends in international trade. The core topic addressed in the 2005 Report is the relationship between standards and trade. The Report also contains 3 shorter essays on the use of quantitative economic analysis in WTO dispute settlement proceedings, trade in air transport services, and offshoring services.

English Spanish, French


The economics of standards and trade

We live in a world profoundly reliant on product standards. Faxes can be sent around the world because fax machines obey a common protocol. Computer files can be shared because computers employ various standardized hardware and software formats. The need for product standards is not a new phenomenon. In biblical times, the lack of a common (standardized) language wreaked havoc at the Tower of Babel (Shapiro, 2000). In more recent times, during the great Baltimore fire of 1904, fire fighters called in from neighbouring cities were unable to fight the blaze effectively because their hoses would not fit the hydrants in Baltimore.

English Spanish, French

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