News & Commentary:

October 2001 Archives


The World Bank's Mission Creep
Jessica Einhorn (Foreign Affairs) Sep/Oct 2001
The World Bank is seemingly everywhere nowadays, from aiding economic transition in Eastern Europe to fighting AIDS in Africa.

Vast Global Toll Forecast From the Sept. 11 Attacks
IHT Oct 1, 2001
As many as 40,000 children under the age of 5 will die and some 10 million more people will be condemned to poverty because of the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, the president of the World Bank said Sunday.

Attacks in US lend new urgency to free trade push
FT Oct 1, 2001
If last month's terrorist attacks in the US were intended as a blow against capitalism, they appear to have backfired in one important respect, by imparting urgency to a international drive to free trade and open markets.

Can APEC Rise to the Occasion?   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Robert G. Lees (AWSJ) Oct 1, 2001
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum may have an epochal summit in Shanghai.

Half a billion online
Kathy Foley (Nua) Oct 1, 2001
After an enforced hiatus due to our financial troubles and subsequent takeover earlier this year, Nua's How Many Online figures have once again been updated, this time to the end of August 2001. After much plowing through reports and adding things up in Excel, we can now report that the number of people with Internet access around the world is 513.41 million. Give or take a few million.

Dataquest: Global software market slowing down
Nua Oct 1, 2001
Gartner Dataquest says that worldwide spending on software is slowing significantly as the economic downturn takes effect.

Assessing Risk: Federal programs address biotech's downside along with benefits
CheckBiotech Oct 1, 2001
As researchers use ever more sophisticated technology to create a growing list of drugs, vaccines, foods, and devices, potential risks stalk the process. With print and electronic media prodding them along, scientists, policymakers, business people, and the public have to consider the downside of inventions as well as the benefits.

Brazil moves support debt
FT Oct 2, 2001
A sharp fall in the value of Brazil's debt has been halted after the government introduced a range of measures aimed at stopping the depreciation of the country's currency, the Real.

Sustainable Development Lacking In Draft Declaration
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 2, 2001
As BRIDGES Weekly went to press, WTO Members were busy deliberating a new draft Declaration for the forthcoming WTO Ministerial in Doha, Qatar on 9-13 November. The 9-page text was circulated on 26 September along with an 11-page draft decision on specific issues of concern to developing countries, referred to as implementation (see related story, this issue). Development and environment aspects of the Declaration have drawn a mixed reaction from Members.

Implementation - Finding New Ground Or Grounding To A Halt
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 2, 2001
On 26 September, the WTO released its first draft Ministerial Declaration and draft Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns to a swell of mixed reactions. These drafts aim to provide a framework for negotiations in the six-week leadup to the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar (9-13 November) and set the stage for a new round of negotiations on a wide variety of issues.

'Shadow Boxing' on Agriculture Negotiations At WTO Continues
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 2, 2001
During the 24-28 September sessions of the WTO Committee on Agriculture, Members addressed rural development, domestic support, and geographical indications, though little significant movement in Members' positions on how to reform the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) was observed.

US, EU prepare for further biotech food dispute
CheckBiotech Oct 2, 2001
Following a recent pattern of confrontation rather than assuagement on matters of international dispute, top Bush administration officials appear ready to go for broke here, too, hinting that a contest over agbiotech products before the World Trade Organization (WTO; Geneva) would not be out of the question.

Dollar Proves Resilient Amid Terror's Turmoil
IHT Oct 3, 2001
The dollar, one of the symbols of America's financial strength, has been surprisingly resilient in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Wake Up to the Perilous Cost of the Wealth Gap
Giles Merritt (IHT) Oct 3, 2001
In the talk in America and Europe about the "war on terrorism," little has been said about tackling root causes. Somewhere along the line, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon stemmed from tensions created by the widening gulf between rich and poor nations. There are today almost 50 countries classified by the United Nations as "least developed" - double the number 30 years ago. As the misery of the Third World has grown, the industrialized nations' generosity has declined. America has cut back the most.

Blair gives firmest commitment yet on joining euro
FT Oct 3, 2001
Britain's Labour government made its firmest commitment yet to press ahead with a referendum on joining the euro before the country's next general election if economic conditions are met. Tony Blair, prime minister, made clear that he would be prepared to brave British public opinion, which up to now has shown a clear majority against the single currency.

New farming techniques could 'cut food crises in south Asia
FT Oct 3, 2001
Future food crises in south Asia could be reduced in scale following the successful adoption of new farming techniques in the "bread basket" regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, leading agricultural scientists said.

How trade can help the world
FT Oct 3, 2001
Globalisation is dead. So declare many pundits, some in joy and others in despair. The terrorist attacks on the US have, they argue, undermined the confidence on which international economic integration depends. But rumours of the death of globalisation are exaggerated. Should it die, it will not be of natural causes but because leaders of the world's richest countries choose to murder it.

China + WTO = Disaster?   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Hugo Restall (AWSJ) Oct 3, 2001
Examining Asia: Big changes always inspire fear, but look for the upside.

The Open-Standards Ploy
Dale Steinreich (Mises Daily) Oct 3, 2001
Perhaps it's inevitable that a good magazine sooner or later really blows it on a particular issue. A relatively recent and shocking column entitled "Will History Repeat Itself?" in the August 6 issue of Forbes is a good example.

Dollar to Fall as Investors Shun U.S.: Currency Focus
Bloomberg Oct 3, 2001
Citibank, the biggest trader in the $1.1 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market, expects the dollar to fall against the euro and the yen by the end of the year as foreign investors cut back on purchases of U.S. assets.

Ineffective Rate Cuts
IHT Oct 4, 2001
On Tuesday the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the ninth time this year. The federal funds rate, the key tool of monetary policy, is now 2.5 percent - below the level of inflation. The Fed was hoping that it would buoy investor and consumer confidence, and given the markets' current psychology it probably had little choice.

Fed move gets mixed response in Asia
SCMP Oct 4, 2001
Most central banks in Asia Pacific look set to follow the lead of the Federal Reserve in the United States and cut interest rates.

Banking in Asia: The Perils of Procrastination
FEER Oct 4, 2001
Japan's banks have for years understated the true scale of their bad-debt problem. Although the government recognizes that the mess in the banking system is dragging down the economy, few believe it has the will to tackle the problem head on. (Plus: China - Life at the Edge of Chaos and Takeovers - Foreign buyers beware.)

Blair Goes for Broke   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Stephen Pollard (WSJE) Oct 4, 2001
Even in a time of crisis the prime minister thinks of the euro.

The Dam Breaks
Sean Corrigan (Mises Daily) Oct 4, 2001
The Fed’s Open Market Committee, that supposed bulwark against monetary profligacy, has opened the floodgates with its latest move to push the federal funds rate to a forty-year low. It’s the ninth cut this year, and the one that pushes the real rate of interest 1.3 percent below the median measure of CPI.

US in push on fast-track trade talks legislation
FT Oct 5, 2001
The US House of Representatives is set to push ahead with legislation that would grant new fast-track trade negotiating authority to President George W. Bush, setting up what could be a bitter confrontation with House Democrats.

Tories refuse to be 'suckered' into euro obsession
FT Oct 5, 2001
Conservative leaders said they would not allow Tony Blair's strong signal of intent on the euro to divert them from their plans to focus on other issues during next week's party conference. Senior strategists said the party was "baffled" by the prime minister's decision to place the single currency so squarely at the centre of his conference speech." But the Tories said they would not be "suckered" into turning their conference into a defence of the pound.

Japan will not seek G7 help over yen
FT Oct 5, 2001
Japan has decided against asking the world's other leading economies for help in its efforts to pull the yen lower at this weekend's meeting of the Group of Seven finance ministers, Masajuro Shiokawa, finance minister, said.

In Trade, Business as Usual Won't Do
Chakravarthi Raghavan (IHT) Oct 5, 2001
Economic misery and political fanaticism make a combination that can produce horrific consequences.

History Is Still Going Our Way   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Francis Fukuyama (WSJ) Oct 5, 2001
Liberal democracy will inevitably prevail.

Free Trade, Free Peoples   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
AWSJ Oct 5, 2001
The broadest coalition of all depends on economic freedom.

EU biotech regime predicted to survive WTO challenge
CheckBiotech Oct 5, 2001
A World Trade Organization challenge to European biotechnology traceability and labeling legislation would fail, predicts Robert Paarlberg, a Wellesley College political scientist.

Keynes revisited   Recommended!
FT Oct 5, 2001
In the US economic policy is changing after more than a decade to a Keynesian approach. It is still viewed with suspicion in the rest of world.

Editorial comment: Globalisation in a changed world
FT Oct 5, 2001
One of the less remarked consequences of the US terrorist attacks has been to halt in its tracks the mass movement against globalisation.

Reserves hit record US$397b
SCMP Oct 6, 2001
External reserves rose by US$24.79 billion to a record US$397.02 billion last month, boosted mainly by intervention in the foreign exchange market as Japan's authorities fretted that an overvalued yen was hurting exports.

G7 promises to boost growth in the world economy
FT Oct 7, 2001
The Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers of the leading economies have promised to strengthen growth in the world economy as a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

IMF chief urges united response to slowdown
FT Oct 7, 2001
Horst Köhler, the IMF's managing director, called for a co-ordinated international response to combat a weakening world economy in a letter to finance ministers of its 183 member governments ahead of a meeting of the G7 in Washington.

China poised to take active role in WTO
AT Oct 8, 2001
Things will never be the same again once China accedes to the World Trade Organization. Apart from political implications, Beijing's relations with Taiwan will change, and it will also have to play by international trade rules. For this reason, China will be keen to participate in the drafting of future rules.

Trade regime questioned
SCMP Oct 8, 2001
The government yesterday voiced concern on behalf of developing countries that a proposed package for a new global trade regime under the World Trade Organisation fell short of expectations.

London Futures Market: Belle of the Ball
IHT Oct 8, 2001
When hijacked aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, stock markets around the world went into retreat.

Telegeography: Global Internet connectivity still growing
Nua Oct 8, 2001
International Internet bandwidth growth remains strong, although it is down on last year, according to TeleGeography.

New Economy Follows a Well-Worn Track
IHT Oct 9, 2001
Remember the new economy? What does it mean - if anything - anymore?

WTO draft dismays EU and Cairns Group
FT Oct 9, 2001
The EU and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries, from opposite ends of the spectrum, reacted with disappointment to a draft text setting out guidance for future WTO negotiations on liberalising agricultural trade.

Agriculture And Environment Polarise Ministerial Process
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 9, 2001
WTO Members have experienced an eventful week since a 3 October implementation meeting ended in discord over developing country demands in the leadup to the WTO's fourth Ministerial Conference scheduled for 9-13 November (see related story, this issue). Major interactions have taken place in particular over agriculture and environment, and the WTO corridors have become rife with speculation over whether or not the Gulf state of Qatar will remain the chosen venue for the Ministerial.

GATS: Highlights From WTO Services Week
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 9, 2001
In the shadow of preparations for the Doha Ministerial Conference, WTO Members are pursuing negotiations on the liberalisation of services trade under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) during a 'services week', which also involves talks on the completion of a GATS regulatory framework

BIS report reveals global forex deals plunge 19pc
SCMP Oct 10, 2001
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has reported a decline in foreign-exchange market activity over the past three years for the first time since it began recording volumes in 1989.

More preparation urged for euro launch
FT Oct 10, 2001
Governments, banks and retailers in the eurozone need to do more to prepare for the launch of euro notes and coins on January 1, the European Commission said.

The new economy falters
FT Oct 10, 2001
Was it only 18 months ago that the dotcom and telecommunications bubbles were reaching their impossible heights? A collective frenzy had descended on the financial markets and the western body corporate alike.

No More Economic Stimulus Needed   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Milton Friedman (WSJ) Oct 10, 2001
Additional government spending won't make the economy recover.

Building Confidence in Biotechnology
CheckBiotech Oct 10, 2001
Communicating the science of biotechnology to non-scientists is the professional mission of Bruce Chassy. The professor and associate director of the Biotechnology Center at the University of Illinois believes that much of the controversy surrounding the science of biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is driven by misinformation and misconceptions about the science.

Nobel for 3 U.S. Economists
IHT Oct 11, 2001
Three American academics, including an outspoken former chief economist of the World Bank, on Wednesday were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for their work toward understanding how markets work when buyers and sellers have different information.

Duisenberg calls for at least 12 more months
FT Oct 11, 2001
Wim Duisenberg virtually ruled out any prospect that he would step down as European Central Bank president halfway through his term by making clear he wanted to stay in his job for at least the next 12 months. His unexpected statement appeared intended to underline the need for continuity in the ECB's leadership at a time of high uncertainty for the European and global economy.

'Economic disaster' for developing countries
FT Oct 11, 2001
Disentangling the direct effects of September 11 from existing weakness in the world economy is not easy. The crisis throws up pressing challenges of economic stabilisation for the IMF and the World Bank.

Prodi urges acceleration of EU integration
FT Oct 11, 2001
Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, called for an acceleration of European integration in response to the terrorist attacks on the US.

Singapore FTA seen as done deal
Japan Times Oct 11, 2001
The governments of Japan and Singapore will begin a three-day meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday to put the finishing touches on a bilateral free-trade agreement, Japanese government sources said.

U.S. sees EU GMO labeling rules as impeding trade
CheckBiotech Oct 11, 2001
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said on Wednesday it would be difficult for the United States to accept the European Union's proposal on labeling genetically modified foods as not trade distorting.

While APEC talks of war, China seeks allies
AT Oct 12, 2001
When 21 Asia-Pacific leaders gather in Shanghai on Monday for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, their traditional agenda of promoting free trade will shift to include the intensifying international "war on terrorism" and its impact on the global economy. At the same time, host China will be seeking to win foreign support for its internal fight with Muslim separatists.

UN warns of impending economic crisis
AT Oct 12, 2001
The United Nations is warning that a global economic crisis is on its way in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The crisis is expected to have a devastating impact on the world's poorest nations, where population growth outpaces economic growth. The most severely affected developing economies are expected to be in South and East Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

The IMF's Efforts to Reduce the Risk of Financial Crises
Flemming Larsen (IMF) Oct 12, 2001
An Article by the Director, Office in Europe, IMF.

Minister calls for weaker yen
FT Oct 12, 2001
Masajuro Shiokawa, Japan's finance minister, called for the yen to weaken further against other currencies such as the dollar - on top of its recent decline - to stave off a slump in the world's second largest economy.

Singapore says it can host WTO meeting
FT Oct 14, 2001
Singapore on Sunday signalled it was ready to host next month's ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation, after other governments voiced anxiety that US attacks on Afghanistan could scuttle plans to meet in Doha, capital of Qatar.

Editorial comment: Argentina's woe
FT Oct 14, 2001
Even before the attacks of September 11, financial and economic stability in Argentina was precarious. But events in the past month have brought closer a change to the country's currency board exchange rate regime.

Tech slump unsettles Europeans
Dan Gillmor ( Oct 14, 2001
There hasn't been a more dangerous time in global economic affairs in decades, and faith in the short or even medium term feels like a major stretch.

From Golden Arches to Lightning Rod   Recommended!
IHT Oct 15, 2001
Multinational businesses long have been targets of complaints that globalization has led to the Coca-Colonization of the planet, creating a McWorld in which people in a standardized global village exist on Big Macs and fries. But now, anger at what some call American cultural imperialism have been linked to the even more volatile issues of politics and religion.

The International Monetary Fund and Human Rights
Sérgio Pereira Leite (IMF) Oct 15, 2001
An Article by the Assistant Director, Office in Europe, IMF.

Relying on Middle East Oil
Jude Wanniski (Polyconomics) Oct 15, 2001
The lead story in your Sunday 'Money & Business' section by Neela Banerjee, 'Fears, Again, of Oil Supplies at Risk', suggests several scenarios where terrorism or war in the Middle East could drive the price of oil sky-high. This is because two-thirds of the world’s known reserves are there, 649 billion barrels, while the U.S. has only 3% of known reserves, 22 billion bbl.

Nobel laureate squarely in anti-globalization camp   Recommended!
AT Oct 15, 2001
"The recognition that the trade agreements of the past have been unfair is one of the important lessons of the anti-globalization movement", says one of the winners of this year's Nobel Prize for Economics. Joseph Stiglitz, whose critiques of free market fundamentalism cost him a senior job at the World Bank in 1999, has blunt advice for the global justice movement: Keep it up.

Turkey to seek further $9bn from IMF as loans run out
FT Oct 15, 2001
Turkey is hoping to secure up to $9bn in fresh loans from the International Monetary Fund after the bulk of a $15.7bn package from the IMF and World Bank runs out this year.

Editorial comment: IMF's choices
FT Oct 15, 2001
The global economic slowdown was already making life difficult for emerging market economies even before September 11. But the terrorist attack on the US has made their predicament far worse. Among the most vulnerable are Argentina and Turkey.

Gloom builds as Bank of Japan paints grim picture
SCMP Oct 16, 2001
Japan's central bank has become gloomier about the economy for a fifth consecutive month in a report just released, citing a hefty drop in output and rising uncertainty after the September terror attacks in the United States.

EU leaders show impatience with ECB
FT Oct 16, 2001
Gerhard Schröder, Germany's chancellor, has underlined the growing impatience of eurozone governments with the European Central Bank's monetary policy by making clear he wanted an early interest rate cut to help Europe out of its economic slowdown.

Brazil aims to boost capital markets
FT Oct 16, 2001
In the next few days, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso will sign and mark legislation designed to improve Brazil's corporate governance and boost the country's waning capital market.

Singapore 'Mini-Ministerial' Moves Doha Agenda Forward
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 16, 2001
Following up after a similar meeting in Mexico in August, trade ministers from 22 major WTO Members on 13-14 October held what US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick called a "mini-ministerial" in Singapore to advance preparations for the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference, currently scheduled officially for Doha, Qatar, on 9-13 November. Trade officials are still in the process of constructing language for a draft Ministerial Declaration that would set out the scope of future negotiations in a variety of areas. Ministers in Singapore generally expressed satisfaction with progress made on all contentious issues, but sources indicate that much work remains to be done, in particular with regard to implementation. Discussions were held back somewhat by doubts about the venue for the Ministerial Conference, with Singapore and other countries offering to host the meeting if need be.

LDCs Strive To Have Their Voices Heard
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 16, 2001
The 26th session of the WTO Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) met on 15 October for their final meeting before the Fourth Ministerial Conference on 9-13 November, currently scheduled for Qatar.

World reducing hunger too slowly - UN
CheckBiotech Oct 16, 2001
The world is slipping further behind target in its effort to halve hunger by 2015, the United Nations food body said on Monday. The Food and Agriculture Organisation urged countries to rally political will and resources to reduce hunger and poverty.

Argentine Debt Plan Worries Lenders
IHT Oct 17, 2001
Scrambling to stave off a financial collapse, Argentina is taking a step it has long resisted: pressuring its creditors to accept less than they are owed.

European Commission proposes comprehensive preferential trade package for Pakistan
EC DGT Oct 17, 2001
Further to the conclusion of a series of negotiating rounds with Pakistan, the European Commission has presented a comprehensive package of trade measures designed to significantly improve access for Pakistani exports to the EU. The proposed package would give Pakistan the best possible access to the EU short of a Free Trade Agreement by making it eligible for the new Special Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme for countries combating drugs. It has been specifically tailored to target clothing and textiles accounting for three-quarters of Pakistan’s exports to the EU. It would remove all tariffs on clothing and increase quotas for Pakistani textiles and clothing by 15%. In return, Pakistan will improve access to its market for EU clothing and textile exporters. Announcing the package to be presented to the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for approval, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: ‘We have made this negotiation a top priority because Pakistan is in an exceptional situation. We have targeted those areas where Pakistan can benefit most, namely clothing and textiles. Trade is a weapon of peace. Through trade and the fostering of greater economic ties with Pakistan the EU can contribute to alleviating in some measure its current difficulties.’

World Bank brakes outlook
SCMP Oct 17, 2001
The economic slump in East Asia is likely to last well into next year with the terrorist attacks in the United States slowing efforts to reduce the region's sprawling poverty, according to the World Bank.

Beijing 'may enter WTO before end of this year'
FT Oct 17, 2001
China plans speedily to ratify the agreement it concluded last month to become a member of the World Trade Organisation and may join the body before the end of this year, the country's chief WTO negotiator said.

Finland ranks top in potential for growth
FT Oct 17, 2001
Finland is the country with the world's greatest medium-term growth potential, according to the Growth Competitiveness Index produced by the World Economic Forum.

OECD outlook grim for world's top economies
FT Oct 18, 2001
This year is set to be the worst for the world's leading economies since 1982 and 2002 will be very little better, according to leaked preliminary forecasts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Brazil's weakness set 'for some time'
FT Oct 18, 2001
Brazil's financial markets have recovered this week, halting the downward spiral of the Real. But few analysts support the government's hopes of a sustained currency recovery that would allow interest rates to come down and economic growth to resume.

Europe's tight corner
FT Oct 18, 2001
Vanishing economic growth, rising budget deficits, higher unemployment and a central bank accused of mismanaging monetary policy: it is a formidable mix that confronts European government leaders as they gather on Friday in the Belgian city of Ghent.

Friedman Boos, Stiglitz Cheers as Keynes Returns to Washington   Recommended!
Bloomberg Oct 18, 2001
Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who favors relying on the Federal Reserve to keep the economy humming, says he's appalled.

Forget Seattle, WTO told
SCMP Oct 19, 2001
The World Trade Organisation has a chance to remove the "stain of Seattle" and should launch a new round of trade liberalisation talks on schedule next month, according to United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.

China Braces for Impact of WTO Entry

IHT Oct 19, 2001
China is girding itself to defend its huge yet fragile economy from an invasion by foreign companies once its membership in the World Trade Organization is ratified.

IMF-World Bank Meetings are Important
Thomas C. Dawson Oct 19, 2001
A Letter to the Editor by the Director, External Relations Department, IMF.

Dollar forward-rate contracts renew doubts about peg despite denial
SCMP Oct 20, 2001
Hong Kong dollar forward rates yesterday made their biggest one-day jump this year as a government denial that the peg would change failed to calm markets.

How to save the developing world, by George Soros
FT Oct 20, 2001
George Soros, the billionaire 71-year-old Hungarian-born financier who set up the legendary Quantum investment fund, has become a great supporter of debate and action but he is also trying to make himself a central contributor to the globalisation argument.

Editorial comment: Cracks in the crystal ball
FT Oct 20, 2001
The old joke that economists cannot even forecast the past turned into black humour this week. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had reduced its preliminary (unpublished) forecast of economic growth in the industrial world to only 1 per cent this year and 1.2 per cent for 2002.

Bush Calls World Economy Goal of Attacks on U.S.
NYT Oct 20, 2001
President Bush declared today that the two American soldiers killed in an accident on Friday - the first major American casualties in South Asia - "died in a cause that was just and was right." He also told leaders of the 21 nations assembled here for an annual summit meeting that the terrorists who struck the World Trade Center were trying to bring about a collapse of world markets.

WTO meeting set to stay in Doha after US backing
FT Oct 21, 2001
The US has sent a powerful message that it is determined to overcome the effects of terrorism by reaffirming its commitment to the staging of an important World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.

Editorial comment: Patent abuse
FT Oct 21, 2001
Western governments are guilty of double standards. Having defended the inviolability of pharmaceutical patents in the developing world, they are ready to override them at home as alarm about bioterrorism spreads.

Asia lacking leadership for common unit
SCMP Oct 22, 2001
Asia should aim to create a common currency based on the US dollar and the first step towards that goal could be the dollarisation of Hong Kong, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell.

Summit puts China on top of the world
AT Oct 22, 2001
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting that ended in Shanghai on the weekend, China obtained almost everything it could have wished for - the fall of the ideological barrier towards communism and the recognition of a new strategic environment with regard to the United States and Taiwan. Francesco Sisci writes that now is the time for a fresh approach toward the reunification Beijing has so long coveted.

Mahathir Backs Cash Controls to Stem Globalization
IHT Oct 22, 2001
Even as fellow Pacific Rim leaders push for more globalization, President Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia has warned that such policies could unleash "packs of tigers and bears" on Asia and urged the region to resist many aspects of globalization.

Africa 'could be worst economic casualty'
FT Oct 22, 2001
The World Bank has warned that Africa may become one of the worst economic casualties of the war against terrorism and the global economic slowdown.

How to rescue Japan
FT Oct 22, 2001
The Japanese financial system is in crisis again.

The Terror Economy
Richard Berner (NYT) Oct 23, 2001
In the long term, terrorism is imposing new costs that are unlikely to go away.

US steel: EU expresses concern over US International Trade Commission findings
EC DGT Oct 23, 2001
The European Commission on 23 October expressed strong concern and renewed disappointment as the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) issued the results of the first part of its investigation into the difficulties faced by the US steel industry, launched in June. The ITC now has two months to propose remedies to the US Government. These could lead to significant restrictions on US imports of steel from third countries. The US President will subsequently have to decide on whether or not to take action and whether to follow the ITC’s recommendations. Reacting to the news EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said, 'We disagree with the ITC’s findings. We shall continue watch this matter closely. As I have said before, if the US decides to close its market as a result of this investigation it should be in no doubt that we will take this matter up in the WTO. Shifting responsibility for the problems facing the US steel industry onto the rest of the world by imposing protectionist measures will only make matters worse.'

Countries Can't Go It Alone
Eduardo Aninat Oct 23, 2001
An Article by the Deputy Managing Director, IMF.

Supachai warns big deficits could lead to fresh Asia economic crisis
SCMP Oct 24, 2001
Despite the global downturn, Asian governments must avoid ballooning budget deficits that would lead to another economic crisis, according to World Trade Organisation director-general designate Supachai Panitchpakdi.

Tight Fiscal Reins Chafe Euro-Zone Economies
IHT Oct 24, 2001
Faced with the gloomiest economic outlook in decades, European leaders are finding their options to enact rescue plans severely limited by the tight fiscal restrictions required by membership in the euro.

UK's investment fall 'linked to euro exclusion'
FT Oct 23, 2001
Pro-euro campaigners claimed that exclusion from the single currency was beginning to hit the economy as Britain's share of European inward investment projects fell sharply to 21 per cent in the first half of this year.

Editorial comment: The right course
FT Oct 23, 2001
Germany must make a choice: to accept stagnation or do something to counter it. The country has seen three aborted recoveries since reunification in 1990. Growth is at a standstill. Business confidence has plummeted. Unemployment has climbed back up to 9.4 per cent.

Full Steam Ahead For Doha As Prep Talks Refine Ministerial Text
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 23, 2001
Following renewed commitments by the US over the weekend, the WTO's Fourth Ministerial Conference looks set to take place as scheduled in Doha, Qatar on 9-13 November. Meantime, talks over how environment should be dealt with in the Ministerial Declaration have isolated European Members just as a second draft Ministerial text is in the making.

WTO Heads Of Delegations Meet On Developing Country Concerns
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 23, 2001
On Friday 19 October, WTO Members convened for an informal Heads of Delegations (HOD) meeting to discuss 'further points of consideration' for the draft Ministerial Declaration. Specifically, this meeting touched on paragraphs 33 through 35 of the draft text - dealing with technical cooperation and capacity building, Least-Developed Countries (LDCs), and special and differential treatment (S&D). With new draft texts expected by the end of this week, sources indicate these discussions were critical in building confidence around the direction of these three important areas for developing country Members - particularly in S&D.

APEC Affirms Support For WTO Round
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 23, 2001
On Thursday 18 October, trade ministers from the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum member countries signed a joint statement encouraging the strengthening of the multilateral trading system through a new round of negotiations. At the end of a summit meeting of APEC leaders three days later, the official APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration was also released. It commits APEC's members to a set of trade-supportive policies, and endorses the long discussed 'Shanghai Accord' on the expansion of the role of the APEC.

The Asian Dollar   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Hugo Restall (AWSJ) Oct 24, 2001
Examining Asia: Hong Kong could be the linchpin of Asian currency stability.

Hong Kong defends peg to US dollar
FT Oct 24, 2001
The head of Hong Kong's monetary authority strongly defended its currency link to the US dollar to curb anxiety that the peg was hurting the territory's competitiveness.

Japanese chipmakers make anti-dumping charge
FT Oct 24, 2001
Japan may be heading for a trade dispute with its neighbours after leading semiconductor manufacturers threatened to ask the government to file an anti-dumping complaint against their foreign rivals.

Editorial comment: Position vacant
FT Oct 24, 2001
The spat between Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, and Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian premier and holder of the rotating presidency, may be just another of the European Union's little turf wars. But it also reveals the weakness of these two institutions and the absence of political leadership in the EU.

World Bank and IMF Ready to Help Pakistan
IHT Oct 25, 2001
The World Bank said Wednesday that it stood ready to follow up a $300 million loan for Pakistan with further assistance to help privatize and restructure the banking sector, part of a series of financial efforts to aid a country that has become the cornerstone of a U.S.-led coalition against the Taliban regime.

Hong Kong Ponders Its Fixed Dollar Rate
IHT Oct 25, 2001
With the economy falling and public discontent rising, Hong Kong is starting to question one of its cornerstones: its exchange rate, which fixes the value of the local currency directly to the U.S. dollar.

China Break-In
FEER Oct 25, 2001
HSBC hopes to beat the dominant Wall Street investment banks to China's new corporate giants.

Pump-Priming - Study in Contrast
FEER Oct 25, 2001
While Singapore seems to have got the formula for fiscal stimulus just about right, Hong Kong is prescribing weak medicine.

The Economic War Against Terrorism
Greg Rushford (AWSJ) Oct 25, 2001
The trade protectionists are fleeing the battle.

Windows of Opportunity
Robert X. Cringely (NYT) Oct 25, 2001
Windows XP is a new operating system, but Microsoft's agenda is the same: total domination over the world of personal computing.

World Trade Slows Sharply in 2001
WTO Oct 25, 2001
Growth in world merchandise trade is expected to slow in volume terms to only 2% this year as compared with 12% in 2000, according to International Trade Statistics, 2001 published on 25 October 2001 by the WTO. The report says developing countries contributed to the vigorous expansion of world trade and output last year.

A Loan for Pakistan
Thomas C. Dawson (IMF) Oct 25, 2001
A Letter to the Editor by the Director, External Relations Department, IMF.

ECB Holds Rates Steady Despite Political Pressure
IHT Oct 26, 2001
The European Central Bank on Thursday voted against a reduction in its benchmark interest rate, resisting political calls to spur growth amid signs of a sharp slowing in the euro-zone economy.

Role Reversal: U.S. Forsakes Market Gospel   Recommended!
IHT Oct 26, 2001
For decades, the United States' economic prescription to friend and foe was almost mantra-like in its consistency: Leave it to the market.

Reducing Information Pollution at the ECB   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Melvyn Krauss (AWSJ) Oct 26, 2001
Some simple reforms could clear the air.

Prosperity Will Rise Out of the Ashes   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Gary S. Becker and Kevin M. Murphy (WSJ) Oct 29, 2001
A nation that retains its knowledge and skills quickly recovers from disaster.

BoJ admits Japan is heading for recession
FT Oct 29, 2001
The Bank of Japan has reversed its forecast for economic growth and predicted the Japanese economy would shrink this year and possibly the next, while deflation would intensify.

Argentina seeks support for debt plan   Recommended!
FT Oct 29, 2001
Argentina was scrambling to build international support for its planned debt restructuring, details of which are expected in the coming days. Investors worried that a default on at least part of Argentina's $132bn in debt could be in the works.

Editorial comment: Argentina's hope
FT Oct 29, 2001
It is now clear that Argentina is unable to escape its slow-motion train wreck by orthodox means. If orthodoxy cannot work, it must try the unorthodox. The plan proposed by Ricardo Hausmann, former chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank, is indeed unorthodox. But that is an argument in its favour.

Cheney disregarded fears over WTO venue
FT Oct 30, 2001
Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, disregarded security concerns among top US trade officials this month by committing Washington to sending a delegation to next month's ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Doha, Qatar. US intelligence officials are seriously concerned that its delegation cannot be protected adequately in Doha, according to congressional and business representatives who have been briefed by the administration on security plans.

De la Rúa urges calm over debt and currency
FT Oct 30, 2001
Fernando de la Rúa, Argentina's president, aimed to calm nervous investors, saying the country would not default on its $132bn in debt or devalue its currency.

Time for Plan B in Argentina   Recommended!
FT Oct 30, 2001
The end game for Argentina is here. It is no longer politically possible for the government to persist with austerity. Creditors know this. The immediate questions concern how the government should respond. Yet there are wider lessons.

Turkey receives assurance on further bailout
FT Oct 30, 2001
Turkey has been assured it will receive a fresh bailout next year in spite of continuing wrangling over whether all the money should come from the International Monetary Fund or include financing from the Group of Seven industrialised nations.

New Ministerial Text To Hand Ministers A Challenge In Doha
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 30, 2001
WTO General Council Chair Stuart Harbinson on 27 October released the second draft Ministerial Declaration in the leadup to the fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, from 9-13 November. The text was accompanied by draft Decisions on Implementation and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and Health / Access to Medicines. Ministers will have their work cut out for them in Doha, as many areas remain contentious and a number of developing countries have pointed out that the new texts fall far short of expectations.

Draft Declaration On TRIPs And Health Highlights Divisions In The WTO
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 30, 2001
The WTO draft Declaration on intellectual property rights (IPRs) and health -- released by WTO General Council Chair Stuart Harbinson on 27 October along with the draft Ministerial Declaration and the draft Decision on Implementation -- underlines the gulf that remains between developed and developing country Members on this issue. Divisions are most pronounced on the scope of the Declaration, including its possible application to 'public health' or 'access to medicines'. Being referred to by some as a public relations exercise, this Declaration is likely to become one of the key contentious issues at the rapidly approaching WTO Ministerial Conference in Qatar next week.

New Implementation Draft - Another Round For Gains Or Grounds To Refrain
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 30, 2001
On 27 October, General Council Chairperson Stuart Harbinson released the anxiously awaited second version of the draft Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns. After a month of intensive negotiations since the first draft was released, this text was put forward as the final draft heading into the upcoming Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha. Also released on 27 October was a Compilation of Outstanding Implementation Issues Raised by Members, essentially a text compiling the outstanding implementation issues not listed in the draft Decision.

GMO Update: EU Moratorium, US-China Dispute, APEC
BRIDGES Weekly Oct 30, 2001
At a meeting in Luxembourg on 29 October, environment ministers from a number of EU countries continued to oppose the European Commission's suggestion to lift the de facto moratorium on the approval of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in place since 1998. They argued that the labelling and traceability laws recently proposed by the Commission, needed to be in place first before they would consider lifting the ban. It will take another two years, however, until the regulations enter into force, possibly longer should France and Luxembourg continue to insist on a new directive on environmental liability to be passed before lifting the ban.

Biotechnology seen way to food sufficiency
CheckBiotech Oct 30, 2001
Biotechnology is one of the most viable alternatives to the country's problem in food security even as it will enable the Philippines to catch up with its Southeast Asian neighbors in agricultural productivity, according to a study made by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (Amcham).

Argentine Agony   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Oct 31, 2001
Global investors figure out that default and devaluation loom.

An Empty Pipeline?
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Oct 31, 2001
For years, we’ve all preached the gospel of policy lags. That’s especially the case with respect to monetary policy, where Fed actions are widely thought to impact the real economy some 9 to 15 months later. Well, it’s now been nine months since the first move of the current easing campaign, and recessionary forces in the US economy are continuing to intensify. Is the monetary stimulus about to kick in, or is the pipeline emptier than we think?

Global: Weaning the World Off America
Joe Quinlan/Rebecca McCaughrin (MSDW) Oct 31, 2001
When the US economy decelerates, the downturn is typically accompanied by a decline in trade. Present circumstances are no exception. Through the first eight months of this year, US imports were down 1% from the corresponding period of 2000. In August, imports fell 9% from the same period a year ago. For the year, Chief US economist Dick Berner expects US imports to drop by 1.7% in real terms, the first annual decline since 1991, the last time the US experienced a recession. Accordingly, the adage that when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold applies as much today as in years past.

Asia's banks face $2,000bn in bad debts
FT Oct 31, 2001
Asia's failure to tackle bad debts has enfeebled its national banking systems and risks depressing growth for years, according to Ernst & Young, the professional services firm.

Canadian dollar at record low
FT Oct 31, 2001
Canada's currency fell to record lows against the US dollar, undermined by weak commodity prices, lower interest rates, and worries over the slowing economy.

Editorial comment: Doha doubts
FT Oct 31, 2001
Few people have done more recently to further the cause of trade liberalisation than Osama bin Laden. The events of September 11, and the ensuing geopolitical and economic instability, have helped to focus minds and to reorder priorities.

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