News & Commentary:

April 2002 Archives


Russia's Challenge to Saudi Oil Power
Edward Morse and James Richard (Foreign Affairs) Mar/Apr 2002
The coming battle for control of the global oil market.

Argentina's Fall: Lessons from the Latest Financial Crisis
Martin Feldstein (Foreign Affairs) Mar/Apr 2002
On the lessons of Argentina’s collapse.

Bretton Woods Update 27
Bretton Woods Project Mar/Apr 2002
Among the topics covered are water privatisation in Ghana, the Bank's role in anti-corruption work, its failure to implement the World Dams Commission guidelines, the NGO campaign on oil, gas and mining, the role of parliamentarians in scrutinising the World Bank, and disappointment surrounding the Financing for Development conference.

Terrorism and Globalization: Southeast Asia
Fathom Apr 2002
While many countries within Southeast Asia have offered support to the US in the wake of September 11, University of Michigan Professor Linda Y. C. Lim explains that this picture of support is complicated by internal diversity and domestic politics: "These governments risk more domestic radical Islamic opposition if they cooperate too closely with the US, while the US itself risks looking like a supporter of localized political repression..."

Global: Unfinished Business   Recommended!
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Apr 1, 2002
As I travel the world, one thing becomes increasingly evident: The global economy is desperate for an other fix from the great American growth machine. It’s gone that way for so long, the world seems to have forgotten there’s any other way to grow. My problem with this line of reasoning is simple: What worked so well in the past may no longer be a guide for what lies ahead. It may well be that the United States is no longer capable of functioning as the sole engine of global growth.

The Middle East: A return to war
Economist Apr 1, 2002
Israeli military forces have moved to extend their grip in the West Bank after Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, declared that his country is at war, and that Yasser Arafat, the besieged Palestinian leader, is Israel’s enemy. Rarely has the path to peace in the Middle East seemed more strewn with obstacles.

The Boomerang Syndrome
Nicholas Kristoff Apr 2, 2002
Beyond the daily heartbreak of the Middle East is a larger tragedy in international relations, the boomerang syndrome.

Rice, first crop plant to be sequenced, may help fight world hunger, Science authors say
CheckBiotech Apr 2, 2002
The genetic code behind rice, a staple for more than half the world’s population, "will speed improvements in nutritional quality, crop yield and sustainable agriculture to meet the world’s growing needs," said Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of the journal, Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Global: US Portfolio Inflows -- An Inauspicious Beginning
Joe Quinlan/Rebecca McCaughrin (MSDW) Apr 3, 2002
One month rarely makes a trend, a comforting thought considering that US portfolio inflows of just $11.3 billion in January marked one of the lowest monthly levels of the past few years. January’s inflows contrasted sharply with average monthly flows of $44 billion seen over 2001.

The Middle East: The widening conflict
Economist Apr 3, 2002
Israel has stepped up its military offensive in the West Bank, in an effort, it says, to stem a tide of Palestinian suicide bombings. There are also fears that a second front in the conflict may be opening up, on Israel's border with Lebanon.

The strong dollar: Everyone's headache
Economist Apr 3, 2002
The strength of the American dollar is once more causing tension in the world economy. But are the world s major currencies misaligned? And can governments do anything about it if they are?

World population: The challenge of ageing
Economist Apr 3, 2002
The world s population is not only getting bigger, it s getting older. This poses challenges for rich countries. But for poorer countries, many believe, it is yet another disaster. Their populations, it is feared, will become older and so poorer. In fact, the opposite is true.

IMF did not advise Argentina to declare debt standstill
Euromoney Apr 3, 2002
The IMF did not advise Argentina to declare a debt standstill in 2001, even though it now says countries should be more prepared to delay debt payments if they have unsustainable debt levels.

WTO Reaches Agreement On Sequencing Of Agriculture Negotiations
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 12 Apr 3, 2002
WTO Members on 26 March agreed on how to map by the end of March next year key negotiating guidelines for the new round of farm trade talks currently underway at the WTO. The decision followed a lengthy debate on how to sequence the discussions on the so-called modalities for negotiating new commitments in the areas of market access, export subsidies and domestic support as provided for in the Doha Declaration.

WSSD PrepComm III Delegates Defer To WTO Doha Mandate
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 12 Apr 3, 2002
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) is holding its third preparatory session in New York from 25 March to 5 April for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which will be held on 26 August - 4 September in Johannesburg, South Africa. Delegates are spending the second week discussing the revised Chair's paper released on Saturday. Many participants expressed discontent with the 100-page Chair's text as being not sufficiently action-oriented. While trade- related discussions took place under a few areas, most deferred to ongoing work at the WTO and to the mandate agreed upon by WTO Members in Doha, Qatar in November 2001.

Upcoming ACP-EU Negotiations Outlined At 4th Joint Parliamentary Assembly
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 12 Apr 3, 2002
On 18-22 March, the 4th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) met in Cape Town, South Africa to prepare for forthcoming negotiations on the ACP-EU Cotonou arrangement in September 2002. Inter alia, the JPA adopted the Cape Town Trade Declaration and various other resolutions -- including one on the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and another on negotiations between the EU and the ACP states on trade, rules of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

When Global Strategies Go Wrong   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Michael Garstka (AWSJ) Apr 4, 2002
Asia's most valuable company expanded into international markets while forgetting basic economic principles.

Global: On Current-Account Adjustments
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Apr 4, 2002
Hints of America’s coming current-account adjustment are already in the air. As Joe Quinlan noted in yesterday’s Forum, just-released data on foreign capital inflows into the US for early 2002 point to a significant shift in the sources of external financing. In January, portfolio inflows into dollar-denominated assets slowed to just $11.3 billion, a marked deceleration from average monthly flows of $44 recorded during 2001. If this trend remains even remotely intact, I believe America’s ability to finance its massive external deficit will become severely impaired. And then the US current-account adjustment will begin in earnest.

Biotechnology: The Promise Of Food Security
FEER Apr 4, 2002
Genetically modified food has got a bad rap for endangering the environment and human health, but without so much as a shred of scientific evidence as proof. In fact, for much of Asia, transgenics hold the key to increasing productivity and fighting hunger. Plus: International Rice Research Institute's pioneering work.

Strategies for corporate and institutional banking   Recommended!
Economist Apr 4, 2002
Credit Suisse First Boston said that 15% of its investment bankers, around 300 employees, would go in its latest round of job cuts. For the first time these will include senior bankers. The bank has pledged to save $1 billion in costs this year to shore up profitability.

Editorial: Beware of bio-fundamentalists
CheckBiotech Apr 4, 2002
For well over a decade now, we’ve been quite used to the protestations of bio-fundamentalists against genetic doctoring of God’s gifts. So their fulmination no longer surprises, even when, at times, their approach to modern science and commerce sounds plain stupid.

Southeast Asia awaits upturn   Recommended!
IHT Apr 5, 2002
The waves of America's apparent economic recovery are poised to break over Southeast Asia, many economists say. But despite the rosiest economic forecasts in years, skepticism abounds in the region.

Global: M&A Activity - Beyond the Headlines   Recommended!
Joe Quinlan and Rebecca McCaughrin (MSDW) Apr 5, 2002
The global urge to merge is not what it used to be, with global M&A announcements dropping to $80 billion in the first quarter of this year, one of the lowest quarterly levels seen in the past five years. The 1Q figure accentuates the dominant trend of the past year -- declining cross-border merger activity in the face of weaker global growth, sliding global share prices, and plunging corporate profits. On a more positive note, the bulk of the slowdown in 1Q came in January and February, with March levels already showing some relief.

Global: More Global Angst
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Apr 5, 2002
The global economy is caught in the crossfire of three powerful forces -- heightened geopolitical instability, mounting trade frictions, and the likelihood of a long overdue resolution of America’s current-account imbalance. Any one of these forces would be enough to destabilize the global economy and/or world financial markets. But taken together, the potentially lethal interplay between them could well turn any macro view of the world inside out.

Sovereign defaults: A struggle to reform
Economist Apr 5, 2002
The International Monetary Fund has put forward radical new proposals this week to deal with the problem of sovereign-debt crises. But America seems determined to oppose them.

Rice Genome Unveiled   Recommended!
Science Apr 5, 2002
Draft DNA sequences of the world's most important crop announced.

Are Forecasts of Recovery Credible?   Recommended!
Prakash Loungani (IMF) Apr 6, 2002
If economic forecasters are to be believed, an economic recovery in the United States is just around the corner. Almost all major forecasters predict that the recession that started last year will be over some time in the course of this year.

Flawed Trade Agreements
Greg Rushford (AWSJ) Apr 8, 2002
"Free Trade" Agreements often dress up old-fashioned protectionism in new clothes.

Oil prices: Spoiling the recovery?
Economist Apr 8, 2002
Iraq has announced a month-long suspension of oil exports as a protest against Israel's invasion of Palestinian areas on the West Bank. Other hardline Middle Eastern producers, including Iran and Libya, have already threatened similar embargoes. Fears about the security of oil supplies have already pushed prices higher: could dearer oil choke off global economic recovery?

World population: The challenge of ageing
Economist Apr 8, 2002
The world s population is not only getting bigger, it s getting older. This poses challenges for rich countries. But for poorer countries, many believe, it is yet another disaster. Their populations, it is feared, will become older and so poorer. In fact, the opposite is true.

Newsfactor Network: Global home Net access grows
Nua Apr 8, 2002
Home Internet users account for almost one eighth of the world's population and this number is still rising, findings from Nielsen//NetRatings have shown.

Global: Oil Shock Sensitivity Analysis   Recommended!
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Apr 9, 2002
The endgame of the rapidly escalating tensions in the Middle East is pure conjecture at this point in time. I guess it always is. But there can be no mistaking what’s at stake. Tensions in the Middle East have long been synonymous with fluctuations in the oil price -- invariably one of the key swing factors for the world economy. Oil shocks -- and their subsequent relief -- were decisive in shaping the wrenching global business cycles of the 1970s and again in the early 1990s. That lesson should not be lost on today’s economy. The possibility of yet another oil shock could well be decisive in shaping the global prognosis.

Brazil in offensive to challenge subsidies
FT Apr 9, 2002
The Brazilian government is launching an unprecedented offensive to challenge US and European Union agricultural subsidies and trade incentives before the World Trade Organisation.

The Third Oil Crisis?   Recommended!
Paul Krugman Apr 9, 2002
Even if they stay where they are, the rise in oil prices represents a serious shock to the system and there could be more to come.

Launch of new trade journal
WTO Apr 9, 2002
Director-General Mike Moore, on 9 April 2002, announced the launch of a new scholarly journal, the World Trade Review, as a joint initiative between the WTO and Cambridge University Press. "The aim of the Journal is to deepen understanding of issues facing the international trading system through critical analysis and constructive debate," he said.

European Commission sets out negotiating strategy for new Economic Partnership Agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries
EU DGT Apr 9, 2002
The European Commission on 9 April paved the way for the negotiation of a new type of trade partnership between the EU and 76 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) by adopting a negotiating strategy for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). EPAs are an innovative type of accord, which will combine trade and development issues in ways tailored to national and regional conditions in this group of developing countries. The strategy will now be submitted to the 15 member states for their approval. Under the Cotonou Agreement, negotiations are scheduled to get underway in September 2002. Welcoming the move, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: ‘In the war against poverty, Economic Partnership Agreements will be an instrument for development. They will help to boost trade and economic co-operation, helping ACP countries to integrate into the world economy and to realise their wealth- creating potential for the benefit of their populations.' EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson stated: 'I welcome this important step that aims to put the interests of developing countries at the heart of global trade. As well as aiding local and regional markets to grow, we are also encouraging developing countries to trade with one another. Regional trade has a vital role to play in building infrastructure, creating confidence and stimulating regional political co-operation.'

WTO Market Access Prep Snags On Modalities
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 13 Apr 9, 2002
At an 8 April informal meeting of the WTO's Negotiating Committee on Market Access, a number of developing countries opposed a negotiating schedule calling for agreement on 'modalities' by 31 March 2003 proposed by Chair Pierre-Louis Girard (Switzerland). The issue stands in the way of Members agreeing on a timetable for non-agricultural market access negotiations as mandated by the Doha Ministerial Declaration agreed last November.

Dep. USTR Highlights Divergence Between US, Developing Countries On Technical Assistance
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 13 Apr 9, 2002
Speaking at a 3 April forum sponsored by the Global Business Dialogue and the National Foreign Trade Council in the US, Deputy US Trade Representative Peter Allgeier called upon WTO Members to "agree on what technical assistance for developing countries is mandated by the Doha Ministerial Declaration." In Allgeier's view, such clarity is needed to "prevent [developing countries] from insisting at the next Ministerial that they did not get sufficiently broad development aid to actively participate in the new round" of WTO negotiations.

News From The Regions: ASEAN-US
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 13 Apr 9, 2002
On 5 April, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the US announced they would develop economic co-operation, but were not able to make progress on a free trade area. In a joint statement, ASEAN ministers "agreed to adopt an ambitious work programme designed to expand further the close trade and investment relationship between ASEAN and the US." The 10 member ASEAN group said that it hoped to develop a clearer trade mandate to boost economic relations with Washington.

PrepComm III Falters In Lead-Up To WSSD
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 13 Apr 9, 2002
The third Preparatory Committee (PrepComm III) in New York for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) concluded on 5 April with little movement on key agenda items. This setback has forced participants to start PrepComm IV -- a ministerial-level event originally scheduled for 27 May to 7 June in Bali, Indonesia -- 3 days earlier, in hopes of making up some of the lost ground.

Markets see euro entry by 2005 as an even bet
FT Apr 10, 2002
Financial markets are pricing in a roughly 50 per cent chance that Britain will join the euro during the current parliament, according to calculations by HSBC bank.

ADB warns rising oil price will hurt Asia
FT Apr 10, 2002
Asia's faster than expected recovery from last year's global economic slowdown remained vulnerable to the rising oil price, the Asian Development Bank warned.

Institutions oppose IMF plan on bankruptcy
FT Apr 10, 2002
The leading association of global financial institutions admitted the need for a systematic way for bankrupt countries to deal with their creditors, but opposed a radical plan promoted by the International Monetary Fund.

Going Bananas
AWSJ Apr 10, 2002
Manila and Canberra start a trade spat.

Asian economies: On the up
Economist Apr 10, 2002
Many Asian economies have started to turn the corner, after the sudden downturn most experienced last year. But some are better-equipped to deliver sustainable non-inflationary growth than others and higher oil prices could yet knock everyone back.

International court signals a new era
Javier Solana (IHT) Apr 11, 2002
We have just witnessed the required ratification by 60 countries of the 1998 Rome statute establishing the much-awaited International Criminal Court. The European Union firmly believes that the court will be an essential means of promoting respect for international humanitarian law and thereby contributing to freedom, justice and the rule of law.

Oxfam brands EU bloc as most protectionist
FT Apr 11, 2002
The European Union has higher barriers than any other large industrialised economy to imports from developing countries, despite its move last year to open its market to products from the very poorest nations, according to Oxfam.

Mischief on Wall Street
IHT Apr 12, 2002
It just got a lot harder for Wall Street analysts to claim that they were merely ignorant when they touted all those dubious dot-com stocks up until the day they went bust. An affidavit submitted this week in a legal proceeding by New York State's attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, provides strong evidence for a more troubling explanation: that the research departments of the big investment and brokerage firms were simply too blinded by conflicts of interest to deliver objective analysis.

Bringing Greece's euro experience to ECB job
FT Apr 12, 2002
At Friday's meeting of EU finance ministers in the Spanish city of Oviedo, Lucas Papademos, Greece's central bank governor, is likely to be selected for a high-profile post - vice-president of the European Central Bank.

China's challenge
John Thornhill (FT) Apr 12, 2002
India has failed to match the economic dynamism of its Asian neighbour.

Asian economies
Economist Apr , 2002
Many Asian economies have started to turn the corner, after the sudden downturn most experienced last year. But some are better-equipped to deliver sustainable non-inflationary growth than others and higher oil prices could yet knock everyone back.

Global: Listening to Business
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Apr 12, 2002
The latest message from Corporate America is unmistakable. Statistical recovery or not, the business operating environment remains exceedingly difficult. IBM’s first earnings warning in a decade was one thing. But now General Electric reports its first quarterly decline in net income in more than seven years. If these icons of the business community can’t turn the corner, how can the broader US economy be expected to do the same?

Global: Japanese Capital Flows -- Staying the Course
Rebecca McCaughrin/Joe Quinlan (MSDW) Apr 12, 2002
Since our last monthly update, sentiment has remained mixed in Japan. Among the key highlights for the month: Prime Minister Koizumi’s approval rating slid as political difficulties mounted, the Tankan came in slightly weaker than expected, yet USD/JPY remained largely range-bound at ¥131-133. The March rally in the Nikkei petered out somewhat, but the market remains buoyant, up roughly 20% since touching an 18-year low on February 6. The weaker currency has helped to prop up export volumes, which likely rose in 1Q for the first time in nearly two years and contributed to the government’s improved assessment of the economy. While our Japanese economists still anticipate a cyclical recovery in mid-2002, it is expected to be an unstable one, with growth set to weaken by 1.0% for the year as a whole.

Why the United States Should Complete the Bilateral Free Trade Agreement with Singapore   Recommended!
Dana R. Dillon and Sara J. Fitzgerald (Heritage) Apr 12, 2002
While the Senate considers whether to grant the President trade promotion authority, the Bush Administration should forge ahead by sealing a bilateral free trade agreement with Singapore. The United States and Singapore have been negotiating a bilateral agreement since December 2000. Although Singapore already has a low tariff rate, signing this deal will open the market even further to U.S. exporters. Furthermore, the benefits of the agreement would not be solely economic; an agreement with Singapore would reinforce U.S. leadership in Asia and strengthen an important security alliance between the two countries.

Falling Behind on Free Trade
Robert Zoellick (NYT) Apr 14, 2002
Prompt action by the Senate is needed to clear the way for America's international trade leadership and economic interests.

Greek is voted next vice president of ECB
IHT Apr 15, 2002
Lucas Papademos, the respected Greek central bank governor, was nominated over the weekend as the European Central Bank's next vice president, but only after Belgium blemished what was meant to be a smooth selection.

A Tale of Two Cities   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Brian M. Carney (WSJE) Apr 15, 2002
Vienna, Bratislava and the economics of European Union enlargement.

Argentina urges IMF to speed aid negotiations
FT Apr 16, 2002
Argentina's economy minister has appealed to the International Monetary Fund to speed negotiations over a new aid package and to ease its demands, in the hope of pulling the country out of its deep malaise.

Global: Global M&A -- A Tilt Toward Europe?
Joseph Quinlan & Karin Kimbrough (MSDW) Apr 16, 2002
The global urge to merge is not what it use to be. Global M&A activity in the first quarter of this year dropped to $80 billion, one the lowest quarterly levels in the past five years. The Q1 figure accentuates last year’s dominant trend of declining cross-border merger activity in the face of weaker global growth, sliding global share prices and plunging corporate profits.

WTO: Market Access Negotiators Stuck Over How & When To Structure Talks
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 14 Apr 16, 2002
Delegates meeting on 10-11 April in the WTO's Negotiating Group on non- agricultural Market Access remained at an impasse with regards to establishing a target date to agree on modalities for trade liberalisation talks on industrial goods. Some developing countries, notably India and Kenya, are resisting efforts to establish a deadline to agree on negotiating modalities. A previous Chair's proposal had suggested Members could agree on modalities by 31 March 2003, in line with a similar March deadline for agriculture and services modalities.

With Deadline Quickly Approaching, CTD Special Session Tries To Move Ahead
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 14 Apr 16, 2002
The WTO Committee on Trade and Development's special session (CTD-SS) on special and differential treatment (S&D) met for the second time on 9 April, with the intention of focusing on the identification of S&D provisions that Members consider should be made mandatory, and to consider Members' inputs on the legal and practical implications of making non-mandatory S&D provisions mandatory. In practice however, this meeting, like the previous CTD-SS on 5 March, focused primarily on procedural items. One topic that saw discussion was the relationship between a provision being mandatory in nature, and its effectiveness (or more aptly, its potential to still be ineffective despite being mandatory).

Biodiversity Convention Expected To Adopt Guidelines On Access To Genetic Resources
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 14 Apr 16, 2002
The Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at their sixth Conference (COP-6) on 7-19 April in The Hague, The Netherlands, are expected to adopt the first-ever international guidelines on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. Discussions on the guidelines are still underway at the Conference, with some of the debates mirroring those at past meetings of the WTO Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).

OXFAM Report Highlights Hypocrisies In Global Trading System   Recommended!
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 14 Apr 16, 2002
On 11 April, Oxfam International (OI) released a new 272-page report, entitled "'Rigged Rules and Double Standards" as part of the launch of its new "Make Trade Fair" campaign -- slated to run over the next 3 years in 144 countries. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses, the report's authors describe what they see as some of the hypocrisies in international trade rules and the double standards employed by industrialised countries. While much of the substance of the report echoes 'progressive' critiques against the international economic system, some of OI's traditional non- governmental partners see the report as marking a departure from the diverse positions of many of its autonomous regional organisations. Notably, they say that the OI critique broadly adopts an approach that promotes trade, via the current multilateral trading system, as a motor for economic development and poverty alleviation.

A graying globe
IHT Apr 17, 2002
A United Nations conference in Madrid has grappled with the implications of a startling demographic development - there will be more elderly people than youngsters in the world in coming decades.

Foreign aid returns to favor
Thomas Carothers (IHT) Apr 17, 2002
President George W. Bush has proposed a huge increase in U.S. foreign aid, potentially reversing years of declining aid budgets. His new push for aid has only two parallels in modern U.S. history: John Kennedy's Alliance for Progress and Harry Truman's Marshall Plan.

Pressure grows in EU for action on US tariffs
FT Apr 17, 2002
The European Union has given a warning that it may be forced to retaliate against US tariffs on steel imports, to prevent European governments and public opinion turning against free trade.

PAT Answers
Pete du Pont Apr 17, 2002
It's time to stop taking the likes of Paul Erlich seriously.

The Global Financial Architecture in Transition
Flemming Larsen (IMF) Apr 18, 2002
During the past quarter century, economic and financial liberalisation across the world has led to the new, market-based financial economy in which we live. This transformation of the financial system has brought considerable benefits. But as the recent episode in Argentina reminds us, it has also been accompanied by too many financial crises, especially affecting emerging market countries. Some NGOs, part of the media, and a few economists blame "neo-liberal" economic reforms for these problems. But policymakers have little appetite for a return to strict government regulations and have concentrated instead on the need to make markets function better by adopting rules-based frameworks to guide financial policies and markets. In addition to crisis prevention, the objective is to make countries more resilient in times of financial turbulence.

The Recession that Almost Was   Recommended!
Kenneth Rogoff (IMF) Apr 18, 2002
Amid increasing signs of recovery, there seems to be a growing denial that the global economy was ever in any real danger.

IMF chief argues for firmer hand in Europe
IHT Apr 19, 2002
Europe, even if it is facing election campaigns in Germany and France, needs stronger political leadership that will be more ambitious in reforming its rigid labor markets and pushing ahead with other economic reforms, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund.

Developing countries
Economist Apr 19, 2002
The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank this weekend come at a time when foreign aid is back at the top of the international political agenda. But for more aid to be effective, tough decisions will have to be made, not only in poor countries, but in rich nations as well.

World economy
Economist Apr 19, 2002
According to the latest World Economic Outlook from the IMF, the global slowdown has bottomed out and recovery in most countries is now under way. Risks remain, but governments should be trying to exploit the upturn and reduce economic vulnerabilities, says the Fund.

Global: The World's New Growth Cushion   Recommended!
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Apr 19, 2002
It’s official. Believe it or not, the International Monetary Fund has now declared that the world economy narrowly skirted recession in 2001. The just-released World Economic Outlook -- the IMF’s official global assessment -- concedes it was a very close call. But, in the end, the Fund’s research staff believes the world economy stopped at the brink. Reading between the lines, it doesn’t take much to figure out what made a difference between worldwide recession and anemic expansion. China and India saved the day, playing a critical role as the world’s new growth cushion.

Investment as poverty relief
IHT Apr 22, 2002
Foreign direct investment in developing countries has defied the global slowdown and, at $160 billion this year, remains a leading force pushing back poverty, the World Bank's chief economist, Nicholas Stern, said.

G-7 backs a U.S. plan for dealing with debt crises
IHT Apr 22, 2002
Amid a deepening crisis in Argentina, leading industrialized countries have endorsed new ideas for containing future crises, including a U.S.-backed plan to prod countries and their creditors to adopt more flexible loan terms aimed at averting catastrophic defaults. The "action plan," issued after a meeting Saturday of top economic policymakers from the Group of Seven countries, was one of the most important statements yet by global leaders on handling financial crises such as those that in recent years have devastated countries such as Indonesia and Russia.

Incoming WTO chief urges a global solution for steel
IHT Apr 22, 2002
The steel dispute that threatens to erupt into a trade war between the United States and other powerful economies including the European Union, Japan and China should be resolved as part of a global deal to restructure the steel industry, according to the incoming head of the World Trade Organization.

Harmony rules as G7 and IMF delegates set agenda
FT Apr 22, 2002
This weekend's meetings of the G7 and the IMF and World Bank's ministerial committees were unusually productive, for once fulfilling their intended mission of consolidating recent progress and setting agendas for the future.

A Global Chapter 11?   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Apr 22, 2002
Why doesn't the IMF ever get the protesters it deserves?

The world economy
Economist Apr 22, 2002
Economic recovery is underway, according to the world’s finance ministers who met in Washington over the weekend. But risks remain, not least from the oil markets.

Economist Apr 22, 2002
As Argentina’s financial crisis continues to deepen, any hopes that new help might soon be forthcoming from the International Monetary Fund have quickly faded. Argentina will have to deliver concrete reforms first.

Developing countries
Economist Apr 22, 2002
The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank which have just finished in Washington came at a time when foreign aid is back at the top of the international political agenda. But for more aid to be effective, tough decisions will have to be made, not only in poor countries, but in rich nations as well.

Members Divided Over Transparency, Definition At WTO Investment Talks
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 15 Apr 23, 2002
At the first substantive session of the WTO's Working Group on Investment since the November 2001 Doha Ministerial, Members on 18-19 April addressed the issues of 'transparency' and 'scope and definition' in the context of preparing for possible negotiations on investment rules under the Doha mandate. Significant divergences emerged between industrialised countries and key developing country Members in these areas, pointing to a difficult forthcoming phase in reaching agreement on how potential negotiations on a multilateral investment treaty could be structured.

Members Divided Over Transparency, Definition At WTO Investment Talks
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 15 Apr 23, 2002
At a 16 April special (negotiating) session of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), Members formally commenced negotiations "on improvements and clarifications" of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) as mandated by the Doha Declaration in paragraph 30. Addressing the EC's call for more transparency in the WTO dispute settlement mechanism as put forward in its tabled proposal, India and Malaysia reiterated their long-standing resistance to opening up the DSU process to external groups, especially by accepting so-called amicus curiae (friends-of-the-court) briefs. EC Proposal Under Scrutiny In DSU Negotiations

GATS: Leaked EC Draft Requests Bring Mixed Reactions
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 15 Apr 23, 2002
On 16 April, a storm of protest amongst civil society groups erupted after a set of confidential draft "requests" prepared by the European Commission were leaked to the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) -- which subsequently made the EC documents publicly available on its GATSwatch website. NGOs such as Oxfam UK, the World Development Movement (WDM), Attac and Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) subsequently voiced considerable concern over the EC's services-related requests to some of its WTO trading partners. By contrast, responses from Geneva delegations of the countries which were to receive the requests were mixed, with most delegates not surprised by the EC papers, while others were content to see the types of requests to a broad range of trading partners.

CBD Adopts Guidelines On Access To Genetic Resources And Alien Species
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 15 Apr 23, 2002
Delegates at the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 7-19 April in The Hague, The Netherlands, adopted the first-ever international guidelines on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS). The meeting furthermore adopted Guiding Principles on alien species despite a last-minute objection by Australia based on concerns that the principles might allow countries to avoid obligations under trade agreements.

Australian dollar on road to recovery
FT Apr 24, 2002
The Australian dollar is finally on a roll after two years of disappointment. It hit its highest level against the US greenback in 14 months to cement its 5.7 per cent improvement over the world's most traded currency so far this year.

Debt to the world
Martin Wolf (FT) Apr 24, 2002
The crisis in Argentina lends support to calls for better sovereign bankruptcy procedures. But reform of debt restructuring is long overdue.

Flight to China: Japan's Industry Fights Back
FEER Apr 25, 2002
Across Japan, traditional industry is under attack. The threat? China, with its cheap labour and cheap goods. But one prefecture, Gifu, is fighting back. Plus: Trade tensions set to grow and A steel firm that's eyeing Shanghai.

Singapore 'is Asia's top business centre'
FT Apr 25, 2002
Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong as the best place to do business in Asia, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Delusion of Free Trade
Ernest F. Hollings (NYT) Apr 25, 2002
Granting the president fast track authority is not about increasing free trade, but rather about transferring power over trade to the executive branch and favored corporate interests.

Economist Apr 26, 2002
Rebuffed by the International Monetary Fund, thwarted by Congress and forced by resignation to find a new economy minister, Argentina’s president, Eduardo Duhalde, may not long survive in office.

Lamy welcomes successful end to negotiations on EU-Chile Association Agreement
EU DGT Apr 26, 2002
Following weeks of intense negotiations between our respective teams and between ourselves, Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear and I met today in the hope of finalising a deal. I am delighted to be able to report to you that we have reached agreement at our political level on a very ambitious Association Agreement between the EU and Chile. The Agreement incorporates a Free Trade Area, a political dialogue and extensive co-operation aspects. It will constitute the ideal framework for our bilateral relations for years to come. With today's agreement, the way is now open for our respective Presidents to announce Agreement at their level on the Association Agreement at the EU-Latin America summit in Madrid in mid-May. In this last round we have concentrated on finalising the trade pillar which has proved complex and time-consuming due to the high level of ambition we have set ourselves.

The value of the dollar
Economist Apr 29, 2002
The American dollar has started to slip in foreign-exchange trading. This has been expected for some time. America has been importing far more than it has been exporting for years, financed by foreigners attracted by tantalising equity returns. The bad news is that when currency turnarounds come, they tend to be swift and brutal.

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