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World Trade Report 2010

Trade in Natural Resources

image of World Trade Report 2010

The World Trade Report 2010 focuses on trade in natural resources, such as fuels, forestry, mining and fisheries. The Report examines the characteristics of trade in natural resources, the policy choices available to governments and the role of international cooperation, particularly of the WTO, in the proper management of trade in this sector. A key question is to what extent countries gain from open trade in natural resources. Some of the issues examined in the Report include the role of trade in providing access to natural resources, the effects of international trade on the sustainability of natural resources, the environmental impact of resources trade, the so-called natural resources curse, and resource price volatility. The Report examines a range of key measures employed in natural resource sectors, such as export taxes, tariffs and subsidies, and provides information on their current use. It analyzes in detail the effects of these policy tools on an economy and on its trading partners. Finally, the Report provides an overview of how natural resources fit within the legal framework of the WTO and discusses other international agreements that regulate trade in natural resources. A number of challenges are addressed, including the regulation of export policy, the treatment of subsidies, trade facilitation, and the relationship between WTO rules and other international agreements.

English French, Spanish

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Trade theory and natural resources

This section looks at key features of natural resources trade from a theoretical perspective. Does trade provide an efficient mechanism for ensuring access to natural resources? What is the impact of trade on finite or exhaustible resources, including under conditions of “open access” where there is a common ownership of – and access to – a natural resource? Is there a relationship between trade and its impact on the environment? Does trade reinforce or reduce problems associated with resource dominance in certain economies? And how does trade affect resource price volatility? These broad questions are addressed by surveying the relevant theoretical literature on the determinants and effects of trade in natural resources.

English Spanish, French

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