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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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Foreword by the Director-General

This year’s World Trade Report explores the role of trade in a world characterized over the last several decades by increasing dependence among nations. This inter-dependency – what we all call globalization today – is a multi-layered and complex phenomenon involving intensive political, social and economic interaction nationally and internationally. Few would contest the benefits that globalization has brought in terms of greater prosperity for hundreds of millions, as well as greater stability among nations. But many individuals in different societies across the world have shared little or not at all in the benefits of globalization. The challenges facing national governments in managing globalization are formidable, and success in spreading prosperity more widely requires a strong common purpose.

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