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World Trade Report 2008

Trade in a Globalizing World

image of World Trade Report 2008

The theme of this year’s Report is “Trade in a Globalizing World”. The Report provides a reminder of what we know about the gains from international trade and highlights the challenges arising from higher levels of integration. It addresses a range of interlinking questions, starting with a consideration of what constitutes globalization, what drives it, what benefits does it bring, what challenges does it pose and what role does trade play in this world of ever-growing inter-dependency. The Report asks why some countries have managed to take advantage of falling trade costs and greater policy-driven trading opportunities while others have remained largely outside international commercial relations. It also considers who the winners and losers are from trade and what complementary action is needed from policy-makers to secure the benefits of trade for society at large. In examining these complex and multi-faceted questions, the Report reviews both the theoretical gains from trade and empirical evidence that can help to answer these questions.

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The trade situation in 2007

Growth in world output and trade decelerated in 2007. Weaker demand in the developed economies reduced global economic growth to 3.4 per cent from 3.7 per cent, roughly the average rate recorded over the last decade. At some 7 per cent, growth in the developing regions was nearly three times the rate recorded in the developed regions and the contribution of the developing countries to global output growth in 2007 exceeded 40 per cent. Economic expansion in the least-developed countries fully matched the growth rate recorded by developing countries as a group in 2007, sustaining a pattern that has been maintained since 2000.

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