News & Commentary:

February 2006 Archives


Bank and Fund in-roads into Iraq
Bretton Woods Update No. 49 Jan/Feb 2006
Plus: Internal accountability creates “institutional discomfort”; Bank freezes pipeline funds to Chad; Using human rights tribunal to force Bank compliance: Uruguayan paper mill; Both arsonist and fire-fighter: the World Bank on school fees; Inside the institutions: the World Bank and education; and more.

Reforming the World Bank
Jessica Einhorn (Foreign Affairs) Jan/Feb 2006
The World Bank's outdated financial structure is a threat to its continued relevance. Paul Wolfowitz, the bank's new president, should begin closing the wing of the bank that lends to middle-income countries.

Recovering Sustainable Development
David G. Victor (Foreign Affairs) Jan/Feb 2006
Sustainable development -- the notion that boosting economic growth, protecting natural resources, and ensuring social justice can be complementary goals -- has lost much appeal over the past two decades, the victim of woolly thinking and interest-group politics. The concept can be relevant again, but only if its original purpose -- helping the poor live healthier lives on their own terms -- is restored.

Davos: Ministers Reaffirm Hong Kong Deadlines, And A Bit More
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 10, Number 3 Feb 1, 2006
Trade ministers from 25-odd WTO Member countries steered clear of the most divisive issues in the sluggish Doha Round negotiations during a 'mini-ministerial' meeting in Davos, Switzerland from 27-28 January, choosing instead to focus on the schedule and process that the talks need to follow in order to be concluded by the end of the year. Though they did little more than issue a timetable based on the series of deadlines Members had already set out in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration in December 2005, ministers came out of the meeting sounding less pessimistic about the possibilities for a successful round than they had before.

WTO Agriculture Week Sees G-10 Proposals, But Little Progress
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 10, Number 3 Feb 1, 2006
WTO Members made little progress during their first talks on agriculture since the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in December. The week of discussions from January 23-26 focused more on procedure than substance. Members generally agreed with agriculture Chair Crawford Falconer's assessment that they should begin developing texts on a number of technical issues that need to be finalised at the end of April as per the deadline for 'full modalities' set out by the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration. Those issues include formulas and figures for reducing farm tariffs and subsidies.

Get used to the new world disorder
IHT Feb 2, 2006
The decades-old U.S. strategy of fighting limited wars on foreign soil has led to a new world dis-order.

Unpopular Globalization: Why So Many Are Opposed
David Dapice (YaleGlobal) Feb 2, 2006
Blaming globalization for workforce anxiety in the US and Europe is misguided.

Democracy's Consequences
WP Feb 4, 2006
Democratization in the Middle East will inevitably mean that Islamists and others with anti-Western agendas will have the chance to compete for power -- and occasionally to govern.

Wrong Fix for Foreign Aid
NYT Feb 6, 2006
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's proposed solution to reform foreign aid programs could end up cutting programs that fight disease or provide clean water.

New IMF financial sector department Adobe Acrobat Required
IMF Survey Feb 6, 2006
Plus: Short takes: Oman, C.A.R., Greece; Nobelist Wangari Matthai on sustainable development; Moldova and remittances; Financial globalization; VAT refunds; Emerging markets alter financial landscape.

Lamy Urges Members to ``Step Up'' Negotiations
WTO Feb 7, 2006
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in his statement to the Trade Negotiations Committee on 7 February 2006, noted the “very detailed timelines” in the Hong Kong Declaration and urged negotiators “to intensify contacts with other delegations and with your capitals, to move us towards the elements we will need to conclude this Round at the end of the year”.

WTO rules EU import ban illegal
WTO Feb 8, 2006
The World Trade Organization, in a closely watched decision, said Tuesday that the European Union and six of its member states had broken trade rules by barring entry to genetically modified crops and foods, according to diplomats.

European protectionism
Economist Feb 8, 2006
A day after the European Union’s trade commissioner attacked the continent’s “populist” politicians and the world trade body ruled against Europe’s restrictions on genetically modified crops, the European Commission has issued a report bemoaning measures in some countries to block the free flow of workers from the east. Fortress Europe is once again under attack, but its defenders are fighting back.

WTO Panel Provisionally Rules Against EU Moratorium On Biotech Approvals
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 10, Number 4 Feb 8, 2006
A WTO dispute panel on 7 February issued a preliminary ruling suggesting that several aspects of the way that the EU's approval process for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was operating were in contravention of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS). It is thus largely favourable to the complaint brought in 2003 by the US, Argentina and Canada against what they alleged was an EU moratorium on the approval of new biotech products.

Lamy Unveils Aid For Trade Task Force, Calls For Text-Based Negotiations
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 10, Number 4 Feb 8, 2006
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy called on Members on 8 February to proceed "in concert" and come forward with new negotiating positions on all issues in the ongoing Doha Round talks, in order to break the current deadlock and achieve the objectives they set for themselves at the December Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. In his speech to the General Council, he said that delegations would have to focus on text and numbers if they are to have a chance of narrowing their differences. Lamy also revealed -- and then quickly revised -- the composition of the 'Task Force' that will be charged with operationalising the provisions on aid for trade set out in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.

'Made in China' labels don't tell whole story
IHT Feb 9, 2006
Often, "Made in China" is actually "Made by Someone Else" - by multinational companies from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

A New U.S.-Asean Trade Tack Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Richard P. Cronin (WSJ) Feb 9, 2006
An alternative to the cumbersome Free Trade Agreement.

The Two Faces of Islam
Abdurrahman Wahid (Globalist) Feb 9, 2006
Are two strains of Islam are fighting for the minds of Muslims worldwide?

The Opportunity of the Cartoon Crisis
Kishore Mahbubani (YaleGlobal) Feb 9, 2006
Despite the dangers it presents, the outrage shows what needs to be done.

'Made in China' labels don't tell whole story
IHT Feb 9, 2006
Often, "Made in China" is actually "Made by Someone Else" - by multinational companies from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

Cartoon Jihad
Sadanand Dhume (YaleGlobal) Feb 7, 2006
Besides showing the cultural gulf with the West, the affair shows the clout of globalized Islam.

Clash of Civilization
WSJ Feb 11, 2006
The dictators behind those Muslim cartoon protests.

The Islam the Riots Drowned Out
Emran Qureshi (NYT) Feb 12, 2006
How the Danish cartoons were used to silence dissent.

Capture the Flag
Martin Burcharth (NYT) Feb 12, 2006
The debate over the Danish cartoons only can be seen in the context of a climate of pervasive hostility toward anything Muslim in Denmark.

Transition time at UN: Leadership after Annan
IHT Feb 12, 2006
Choosing a new secretary general may be the most telling action the United Nations takes in 2006, but the organization is saddled with an ill-defined selection procedure that leaves the choice subject to 11th-hour compromises, great-power maneuvers and regional rivalries.

When globalization leaves people behind
IHT Feb 12, 2006
It will require fundamental changes in governance and in public attitudes to gender equality for India to become a real globalization success story.

Debt and Denial
Paul Krugman (NYT) Feb 13, 2006
Americans are as addicted to imported money as they are to imported oil.

U.S. faces new threat of EU trade sanctions
IHT Feb 14, 2006
A WTO panel said Monday that the United States had not gone far enough in eliminating huge tax breaks for many exporters.

Members Focus On Chair's 'Questions' About WTO Agriculture Talks
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 10, Number 5 Feb 15, 2006
An 'agriculture week' is underway at the WTO, with Members discussing a set of specific questions about each issue that remains unresolved in the contentious Doha Round farm trade talks. Produced by Chair Ambassador Crawford Falconer (New Zealand), the questions were intended to focus Members' formal and informal discussions on how they might overcome their differences. At the 13 February meeting of the Committee on Agriculture Special (negotiating) Session that opened the discussions, Falconer told delegates that they needed to make progress this week in order for them to meet the end-April deadline for 'full modalities' -- including formulas and figures for reducing farm tariffs and subsidies -- that they set themselves at the December Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. Sources report that although Members expressed agreement with the chair's assessment of the situation, they did little more than re-state past positions at the meeting.

Connecting developing nations
IHT Feb 17, 2006
A pregnant woman at home alone in her remote village in Sierra Leone unexpectedly went into a difficult labor and, with no access to a doctor or medical facilities, a minor medical emergency could have taken a tragic turn.

Macroeconomics and the Clash of Civilizations Recommended!
Nouriel Roubini (Globalist) Feb 17, 2006
What is the link between Argentina, Turkey and Italy?

The cartoons: Actually, we know what this is about
IHT/NYT Feb 17, 2006
The American left and right don't agree on much, but weeks of demonstrations and embassy burnings have pushed them toward convergence on one point: There is, if not a clash of civilizations, at least a very big gap between the "Western world" and the "Muslim world."

Managing Globalization
WP Feb 19, 2006
Most people agree that globalization is here to stay; that it has both positive and less positive effects; and that the world lacks good institutions to ameliorate the negative ones. The "Equator Principles," created by the private-sector arm of the World Bank in 2003 and now embraced by 40 big private banks, are a rare creative effort to grapple with this deficit. The principles govern the social and environmental impact of large-scale projects such as mines or roads or dams; although their implementation remains uneven, the fact that perhaps $125 billion of the $170 billion in global project finance is supposed to respect the Equator code represents genuine progress. On Tuesday an updated version of these principles faces a vote by the board of the World Bank. It is vital that the governments that sit on the bank's board approve the update.

IMF strategic review Adobe Acrobat Required
IMF Survey Feb 20, 2006
Plus: IMF transparency report; Art. IV summaries: Mauritius, Zambia, Guinea; South Asia and oil prices; New EU member experiences with capital account opening; AFRITACS future work plan; Goldsbrough on FSAP; global imbalances.

Wolfowitz's Corruption Agenda
Sebastian Mallaby (WP) Feb 20, 2006
Nine months into his tenure as president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz has made headlines mainly by provoking a staff backlash. Neoconservative commissars are seizing control! (Actually, Wolfowitz has a grand total of four Republicans in his entourage.) The World Bank's agenda is being hijacked by a Bush man! (Actually, Wolfowitz has resisted the Bush administration's bad policies on debt relief and climate change.) The previous World Bank president, James Wolfensohn, made no secret of his intention to blow up the institution when he arrived in 1995. Wolfowitz's accession has been comparatively mild, but his reputation as the architect of the Iraq war colors the response to him.

WTO chief upbeat on trade pact this year
IHT Feb 24, 2006
Pascal Lamy said the most contentious issues of the Doha trade round could be wrapped up in the first half of the year.

Do-It-Yourself Economics Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Mary Anastasia O'Grady (WSJ) Feb 24, 2006
Latin American progress has little to do with the U.S.

Taking on Corruption
WP Feb 24, 2006
The World Bank's board faces a decision on debt relief today that has broad ramifications for development. The Congo Republic, a small oil state, hopes to win approval of a reduction in its debt , and by some measures it may deserve that. Under the rules governing debt relief, a country whose debt is worth 2 1/2 times its government revenue qualifies for forgiveness, and a team from the International Monetary Fund has determined that Congo meets this standard. But Congo's corrupt government keeps part of its oil revenue from showing up on its books, raising questions as to whether it deserves forgiveness. The World Bank's president, Paul D. Wolfowitz, rightly argues that debt relief should be delayed. The governments that sit on the bank's board, including African representatives and the Europeans who often support them, should accept Mr. Wolfowitz's position.

Russia — Odd Man Out In The G-8
Mark Medish (Globalist) Feb 24, 2006
Is Russia fit enough to remain a member of the G-8?

Pascal Lamy — Managing Global Expectations
Globalist Feb 24, 2006
Who needs to do what to finish the Doha Round in 2006?

Ports of Gall
WSJ Feb 26, 2006
The new protectionists use national security as their cover.

Democracy Angst Recommended!
WSJ Feb 27, 2006
What's the alternative to promoting freedom in the Middle East?

Pace of protectionism quickens
IHT Feb 28, 2006
The potentially staggering costs of globalization nurture a fertile environment for politicians to seek a buildup of national champions in order to thwart foreign takeovers.

Meeting Asia's demand
Philip Bowring (IHT) Feb 28, 2006
The theory of the Fed chairman Bernanke that excess savings by Asians is a major cause of the monstrous U.S. trade deficit will be sorely tested in 2006.

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