News & Commentary:

December 2004 Archives


Is America Losing Its Edge?
Adam Segal (Foreign Affairs) Nov/Dec 2004
For 50 years, the United States has maintained its economic edge by being better and faster than any other country at inventing and exploiting new technologies. Today, however, its dominance is starting to slip, as Asian countries pour resources into R&D and challenge America's traditional role in the global economy.

Globalization's Missing Middle
Geoffrey Garrett (Foreign Affairs) Nov/Dec 2004
Both friends and foes of globalization overlook one of its critical effects: although it has served rich countries well and poor ones even better, globalization has left middle-income countries struggling to find a niche in world markets. Because these countries cannot compete in either the knowledge or the low-wage economy, without help, they will fall by the wayside.

The Bin Ladex Tax Recommended!
Kenneth Rogoff (Foreign Policy) Nov/Dec 2004
Many economists and policymakers worry about the devastating effects that another major terrorist attack would have on the global economy. But they should also question whether the global economy can continue to absorb the costs of fighting terror.

World Bank accountability: demand for reparations won't go away
Bretton Woods Project Update 43 Nov/Dec 2004
Plus: Fund irate over claims that it blocks progress on AIDS; Inside the institutions: The Bretton Woods institutions and parliaments; Private sector safeguard review continues despite boycotts; Bank, Fund annual meetings: the 'Mallaby effect'; and more.

Sovereign debt rules don't fit the bill
Euromoney Dec 2004
With the backing of the G-20 group of sovereign borrowers, the Institute of International Finance announced a new set of principles to guide future sovereign debt restructuring. Although no one disputes that such guidelines are much needed, they were pushed through without much input from a key group of creditors - bondholders.

China steady on the peg
AT Dec 1, 2004
The Chinese premier's statement that the yuan's peg will not be changed under pressure couldn't have been more timely. The need of the hour is to generate jobs and raise wages, not revalue the currency.

China adds might to ASEAN
AT Dec 1, 2004
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations' accord with China will create an open market of 2 billion people by 2010 to compete with Europe and the United States. Japan and India are lined up to join this party. Australia, though, can't decide between economic and security ties with the burgeoning bloc. - Alan Boyd

Bad Free Trade? Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJE Dec 1, 2004
China does not shy away from trying to turn economic clout into political might.

A Fresh Start for America's Asian Policy Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
John J. Tkacik Jr. (WSJE) Dec 1, 2004
The U.S. has a golden opportunity to challenge China's rising influence.

Don't Gloat Too Much Asia; Tough 2005 Looms
William Pesek Jr. (Bloomberg) Dec 1, 2004
Asians do their best not to gloat, yet many may be tempted to do just that as their stock markets outperform those in the West. They shouldn't jubilate for too long, though -- 2005 will be a challenging year.

Reforming the UN: Towards a more relevant United Nations
Economist Dec 1, 2004
Long-awaited proposals on reforming the United Nations have been unveiled. Backers hope they will rejuvenate the world body. But they come at a time when the UN is under fire—especially from Americans, many of whom think it is irrelevant and corrupt.

World economy: A Clouded Outlook
Economist Dec 1, 2004
Rising oil prices have dimmed the world economy's prospects, the OECD says in its latest economic outlook. But it is hard to put numbers on some of the biggest worries for the world economy.

What's behind the high price of gold?
Economist Dec 1, 2004
Is the rise in the price of gold merely the flipside of the dollar’s fall? Or does it point more broadly to a loss of faith in central bankers’ promises?

European small fry are feeling euro pain
IHT Dec 2, 2004
As the euro climbs into uncharted territory European exporters are voicing greater fears about how it will affect business.

Europe's Dollar Problem
David M. Smick (WSJ) Dec 2, 2004
Pro-growth policies are the Continent's only weapon.

Asia Stands Divided Against Dollar and Euro
William Pesek Jr. (Bloomberg) Dec 2, 2004
Size matters, something Southeast Asian economies have come to understand as they try to compete globally. It explains why they now invite Japan, China and South Korea to their regional confabs.

Trade's bounty
Economist Dec 2, 2004
A new study estimates America's gains from past and future global integration.

Deficits that need a global answer Financial Times Subscription Required
Wynne Godley and Alex Izurieta (FT) Dec 2, 2004
Absent from the public debate is any clear perception that the US budget and balance of payments deficits are organically related to one another and to the evolution of the US economy as a whole.

Asia Holds the Key to the Future of GM Food
John Feffer (YaleGlobal) Dec 2, 2004
Wary Asian consumers may decide how much genetically modified food will reach the world's dinner tables.

Can the East Asian Miracle Persist?
Takatoshi Kato (IMF) Dec 2, 2004
East Asia's rapid recovery from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis, and its return to very impressive growth, has made some observers wonder whether a new Asian miracle is upon us. Certainly there are many reasons for growth in the region to remain robust in the years to come. Gains from further integration into the global economy, rising intra-regional trade (including closer ties with India), and stronger productivity growth stemming from foreign direct investment (FDI) and innovation, are all likely to be significant. While I share this optimism regarding the region's potential, in my view continued economic success will depend critically on strengthening the institutional framework of the region's economies. One of the key lessons from the Asian crisis is that while capital inflows to emerging markets are beneficial for economic development, a reversal of capital flows is bound to happen. Therefore, it is imperative for the emerging economies in Asia to build a financial and legal infrastructure that is resilient to sudden changes in capital flows.

Central bank keeps quiet about its euro options
IHT/NYT Dec 3, 2004
Will the European Central Bank intervene in the world's currency markets to put a lid on the euro?

A Burden to Bear
Olivier Garnier (WSJE) Dec 3, 2004
The euro zone can't expect much dollar relief from Asia.

Global: Bubble Day
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Dec 3, 2004
December 1, 2004 could well go down in history as yet another important milestone for America’s bubble-prone economy. No, I am not referring to the 162-point surge in the Dow Jones Industrial average that occurred on that day. Instead, my focus is on two widely overlooked statistical reports put out by US government statisticians -- the latest tallies on home prices and personal income. Collectively, these reports paint a worrisome picture of an asset economy that has now truly gone to excess. As was the case in early 2000 when Nasdaq was lurching toward 5000, denial is deep over the potential downside of yet another post-bubble shakeout. That’s what worries me the most.

Tackling Poverty and Delivering Growth: The Importance of a Sound Financial System
Anne O. Krueger (IMF) Dec 4, 2004
I want today to say something about the importance of economic growth in reducing poverty; and I also want to say something about the crucial role that a sound, well-regulated financial sector can—and must—play in achieving more rapid and sustainable growth.

News Analysis: Global vote of confidence for euro
IHT Dec 4, 2004
The euro is now firmly established behind the dollar as the world's second-most-popular currency.

Schröder opens bid to broaden China trade
IHT Dec 6, 2004
As European nations court the Chinese economic powerhouse, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder seeks to lock in an advantage during talks this week.

China’s economy: Fear and attraction
IHT Dec 6, 2004
From steel to oil to cars to credit cards, China is poised to become the world's biggest producer and market for many goods and services.

People Can Just Get Along
Robert Murphy (Mises Daily) Dec 6, 2004
Mention any topic touching on international trade and you are sure to provoke multiple discussions, ranging from child labor to parity in workplace safety, and including catchy terms like "dumping," "outsourcing," and "brain drain." It seems as if many of our best and brightest scholars are devoting their precious talents to enumerating all of the horrible ills that will beset humanity if we do not act immediately to combat each and every development in the global economy.

Expanding Trade and Unleashing Growth: The Prospects for Lasting Poverty Reduction
Anne O. Krueger (IMF) Dec 6, 2004
There is now almost universal agreement on what the principal economic objectives should be—and, I would argue, on how to achieve them. All developing economies need more rapid and sustained rates of growth that will in turn permit large scale and lasting poverty reduction and rising living standards for all. Trade has a central role in helping achieve more rapid growth. So I want in my remarks this morning to say something about the link between trade, growth and poverty reduction; and to explain what I see as the contribution that regional trade integration can make.

Indonesia runs with free trade
AT Dec 7, 2004
Indonesia, not wanting to be left behind in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' latest trade deal with China, has declared it will take "full advantage" of free trade. But ASEAN's biggest economy has been burnt before, and with the intense competition likely to be unleashed by China, that's not about to change. - Bill Guerin

Malaysia in no hurry to change ringgit peg
AT Dec 7, 2004
Despite speculation and former premier Mahathir Mohamad's anti-dollar rhetoric, the Malaysian government has made it clear that it is not looking at either removing or re-pegging the ringgit to the dollar. But it's not completely ruling it out either. - Chee Yoke Heong

Don't Let the Dollar Take the Fall
Jeffrey A. Garten (NYT) Dec 7, 2004
Devaluing the dollar doesn't treat the root causes of America's economic imbalances.

The case for Asia
Economist Dec 8, 2004
Foreign investors have been pouring money into Asian shares. For once, their bets may pay off

The ECB talks, but dollar isn’t listening
IHT Dec 8, 2004
Despite a joint statement from European finance officials and the ECB criticizing U.S. policy, the euro hit another high against the dollar.

TRIPS Council Considers Public Health, Biodiversity
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 42 Dec 8, 2004
Public health and biodiversity-related concerns emerged as major issues at the year's final meeting of the WTO Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on 1-2 December.

WTO Members 'Cautiously Positive' About S&D Process
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 42 Dec 8, 2004
At the Committee on Trade and Development Special Session (CTD-SS) meeting on 7 December, Members considered a new approach to negotiations on special and differential treatment (S&D) suggested by Chair Faizel Ismail (South Africa). The Chair's informal suggestions for organising further work, first presented to Members on 3 December, seek to enable developing countries to access enhanced flexibilities in WTO rules to address particular development challenges while remaining consistent with a rules-based multilateral trading system. They are, however, still at a very preliminary stage of discussion. Several Members indicated that they had not had time to look at the approach exhaustively and needed time for further reflection. The meeting decided to continue discussions through informal consultations and a meeting early next year.

WTO Services Talks Said To Be In "Crisis"; Chair Remains Hopeful
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 42 Dec 8, 2004
A senior WTO official has described the Doha round services negotiations as in "crisis" due to lack of engagement by a large number of countries. His comments came as the recent two-week 'cluster' of talks on the further liberalisation of trade in services ended on 3 December with a meeting of the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services (CTS), which oversees the services talks.

Developed, Developing Countries Disagree On Industrial Market Access Approach
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 42 Dec 8, 2004
Developing country Members continue to disagree with a US-led group of developed countries on how to go about reducing import tariffs on industrial and consumer goods. The first two days of the 6-8 December meeting of the WTO Negotiating Group on Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA) saw discussions on the July Package's mandate; the third day's talks focused largely on non-tariff barriers.

A word of caution on the biotechnology ‘miracle’
Miguel Loureiro (Checkbiotech) Dec 8, 2004
Europe isn’t sure. It’s recommending trials, more research and caution. Japanese consumer groups sent a petition with more than a million signatures to the Canadian minister of agriculture to ban genetically modified wheat in Canada, Japan’s largest exporter. Even poorer nations aren’t sure. Last year Zambia declined GM food aid, even in the midst of a food crisis.

US makes a meal of shrimp dispute
AT Dec 9, 2004
In the recently resolved shrimp-dumping dispute, American shrimpers were the Luddites resisting technological advancement in order to preserve a traditional way of life, while Vietnamese and Chinese aquaculturists represented globalized technological progress. No surprise, then, that anti-globalization forces did not venture into these troubled waters. - David M Lenard

Asia/Pacific: Seesawing into 2005
Andy Xie (MSDW) Dec 10, 2004
In 2004, the global and Asian economies clocked up the highest growth rates in a decade, as the liquidity boom that drove financial markets up in 2003 transformed into demand via booming consumption in the US and strong investment in China. Financial markets, on the other hand, have seesawed as rising demand has soaked up liquidity.

Global: Debating the Dollar (Part I) | Part II Recommended!
Stephen Roach and Global Economics Team (MSDW) Dec 10, 2004
A weakening dollar is now center stage in world financial markets. But dollar depreciation is not the endgame of global rebalancing. It is the means toward the end — a long overdue realignment in the mix of global saving and consumption. Morgan Stanley’s Global Economics team has been actively debating the currency issue and its implications for the world economy. Below are excerpts from a recent roundtable discussion we conducted on the dollar.

Oil: Expensive tastes
Economist Dec 10, 2004
At its meeting in Cairo on Friday, OPEC agreed to pare back production to support the oil price, which has fallen towards $40 per barrel in recent weeks. Has the producers' cartel acquired a taste for pricey oil?

Free trade at a heavy cost for India
AT Dec 11, 2004
While peer pressure might be driving India to seek copycat free trade agreements like the rest of the world, its experiences suggest that such deals leave scope for distortion, given its high tariffs. A much better alternative to opening up with some would perhaps be to open up with everybody. - Kunal Kumar Kundu

Japan's woes rise with the yen
AT Dec 11, 2004
Though most Japanese economists are convinced that it's not the end of days for the US dollar yet, the yen's sustained rise could severely dent Japan's flagship exporters' earnings. For a country that's trying to climb out of a decade-long depression, the last thing it needs is plunging industrial profitability. - Kosuke Takahashi

Globalist: The almighty dollar looks mighty vulnerable
IHT Dec 11, 2004
I asked Benn Steil, a smart economist, how vulnerable the United States is to economic attack. His response, offered without hesitation, was "very." Steil is the senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, so he should know. Even I know that the American economy now resembles an addict dependent on a huge fix of foreign capital every day. That injection of imported funds is running at about $2 billion daily, and rising. The great power to end all great powers is awash in debt.

Dollar’s drop is a boon and a curse
IHT Dec 11, 2004
Europe is coming to grips with the likelihood of a prolonged period of weakness in the dollar.

Help! We May Be in Danger Someday
NYT Dec 12, 2004
Moving forward on the textile industry's petitions for protection signals to China and the world that America is still picking which free trade pacts it will honor.

Proactive protectionism
IHT Dec 13, 2004
For anyone who still doubts how far the American textile industry will go to avoid competition, consider this: Domestic manufacturers have already run to the government for protection - now - against Chinese export increases that have not even happened yet. Fortunately, Liz Claiborne, J.C. Penney and dozens of other U.S. retailers are fighting back and have filed suit to stop the Bush administration from moving forward on these whiny manufacturers' requests to impose new limits on clothing from China.

China Relents, and Promises Textile Tariffs
Keith Bradsher (NYT) Dec 13, 2004
The step could avert a trade war with the U.S. and the European Union over a new influx of low-cost Chinese garments.

Written on Water
Mark Helprin (WSJ) Dec 13, 2004
We ignore China's growing military and economic power at our peril.

Outsourcing In India: A View From The Recruiting Trenches
Computerworld Dec 13, 2004
When looking for candidates to fill management positions in India, it's important to consider local values and potential culture clashes, advises Korn/Ferry International's Gita Dang.

Germany, France: Bolstering growth Adobe Acrobat Required
IMF Survey Dec 13, 2004
Plus: Pakistan's recovery; Could Germany's federalism be more competitive?; New online debt database; Chile's foreign reserve holdings; Macroeconomics of HIV/AIDS; Preferential trading arrangements; Helping Grenada rebound.

Global: The Paradox of Trade
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Dec 13, 2004
The dollar is topic du jour in world financial markets. While there was a sharp reversal in the US currency last week after an unrelenting bout of selling since early October, the case for a weaker dollar remains very much intact, in my view. It is central to what I have called global rebalancing -- the shift in relative prices that an unbalanced global economy needs in order to establish a more sustainable equilibrium. I have stressed from the start, however, that dollar depreciation can’t do the job alone. That point bears further elaboration.

Currencies: G10: USD Depreciation and the G10 Monetary Conditions
Stephen L Jen and Karin Kimbrough (MSDW) Dec 13, 2004
USD depreciation is disinflationary for the rest of the world. All else equal, with a weakening USD, monetary policy in the rest of world will need to be easier to offset this effect on growth (i.e., interest rates being lower than they would otherwise be). In this note, we investigate this monetary conditions index (MCI) trade-off for several major economies.

Fresh hope for third-world textile makers Recommended!
IHT Dec 14, 2004
The end to decades of textile and clothing quotas on Jan. 1 is spinning the economics of the developing world around.

China Tries Its Wings as a Global Investor Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
George Melloan (WSJ) Dec 14, 2004
But Beijing is squandering its most valuable asset -- the creative power of its people.

The ghost of crashes past
Economist Dec 14, 2004
Your columnist signs off, wishing one and all a merry Christmas, but forecasting a not-so-happy 2005 for the financial markets.

Asia/Pacific: Fine-tuning Currency Intervention
Andy Xie (MSDW) Dec 14, 2004
I still believe that Asian central banks should shorten the duration of their dollar reserves as much as possible. At a minimum, Asian central banks should park the increases in their dollar reserves in the money market in order to decrease the distortion in the US$ yield curve.

UN warns of Asian growth deception
AT Dec 15, 2004
Though developing economies in the Asia-Pacific will grow faster than the global average next year, most will face challenges ranging from volatile oil prices to a rise in jobless rates, a regional UN body has said, urging caution against a round of good cheer in the coming year.

WTO Negotiations Committee Looks Ahead To 2005
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 43 Dec 15, 2004
WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi told the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) at its 9 December meeting that he plans to launch consultations early next year to encourage Members to "collectively reflect" on the organisation's objectives for 2005.

General Council Reviews Year's Progress
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 43 Dec 15, 2004
In a 13 December meeting of the WTO General Council (GC), Members approved accession requests by Afghanistan and Iraq, and will now set up Working Parties on their accession. This came after the United States blocked consensus on a similar request from Iran, saying that it was still studying Iran's request to start accession talks -- the same reason it has given for doing so repeatedly over the past three years.

Born Suckers
Henry Blodget (Slate) Dec 15, 2004
The greatest Wall Street danger of all: you.

Fed raises key rate; U.S. trade gap soars
IHT Dec 15, 2004
The decision pushed the Fed's target for short-term interest rates above that of the ECB for the first time since March 2001.

Global: FAQs on TIC
Rebecca McCaughrin (MSDW) Dec 15, 2004
The monthly US Treasury International Capital (TIC) report on cross-border portfolio investment has taken on a life of its own. Whereas the data in theory should reflect asset preferences from nearly two months ago, market participants in the foreign exchange and fixed income arenas now appear to be responding to the release itself. Pre-empting the usual questions that we get just prior to the report (October’s release is due out today, 9AM NYT), we have compiled a list of our favorite frequently asked questions.

Credible Policies will Break the Dollar's Fall
Raghuram Rajan (IMF) Dec 15, 2004
The dollar's renewed decline in recent months has increased concerns about how far and how fast the adjustment will go. While the International Monetary Fund has warned for some time of the dangers posed by global current account imbalances, it is important not to be alarmist.

Bush signals U.S. commitment to 'strong dollar' policy
IHT Dec 16, 2004
Bush's dollar comments responded to concerns raised by the visiting Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

India Has Much to Gain by Dumping Dollar Link
Andy Mukherjee (Bloomberg) Dec 16, 2004
India's finance minister recently made a statement, which -- if it wasn't plain bravado -- was a hint that he favors a stronger currency.

U.S. Trade Policy — Leading By Example
Charles Pearson (Globalist) Dec 16, 2004
How can trade policy boost U.S. leadership in the international system?

Chorus for Taiwan-US free trade pact
AT Dec 17, 2004
Frozen out of the Asian free trade initiative, Taiwan is seeking a free trade agreement the US. The proposal has found enormous support from American businesses with interests in Taiwan, as well as conservatives in the US who believe China poses a long-term threat to US security.

America—Who Needs It?
Daniel Gross (Slate) Dec 17, 2004
The global economy thrives without the United States.

Trade gap in U.S. hit a record in 3rd quarter
IHT Dec 17, 2004
The deficit in the broadest measure of U.S. trade climbed to a record high of $164.7 billion in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday, against a revised $164.4 billion in the second quarter, but U.S. dependence on overseas capital was not as great as feared, fueling a big rally in the dollar.

Make undies, not war
NYT Dec 17, 2004
It was good to see the U.S. trade representative, Robert Zoellick, joining his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts this week in signing a historic pact to increase economic cooperation between those two Middle Eastern countries. The agreement gives Egypt duty-free access to some parts of the U.S. textile market if those products include some Israeli content. So it forces Egypt and Israel to work together.

A New World Order Recommended!
NYT Dec 17, 2004
The end of textile quotas presents a textbook opportunity to realize the benefits of free trade.

The Great Powers of Europe, Redefined Recommended!
Timothy Gordon Ash (NYT) Dec 17, 2004
Last week I stood among flag-waving demonstrators in Independence Square in Kiev and heard the leader of Ukraine's "orange revolution," Viktor Yushchenko, triumphantly declare that Ukraine was a European country. Not Western, not merely democratic, and obviously not American - European.

Looking to 2005: How to Fix the World Recommended!
MSDW Dec 17, 2004
The global economy is at a fascinating juncture as 2004 draws to a close. Imbalances between nations -- as measured by disparities in saving, consumption, and current accounts -- have never been greater. At the same time, the fruits of globalization have never been more ripe for the picking. The dynamism of China as a world-class manufacturer and the stunning successes of India's IT-enabled services sector speak to seismic shifts in the global landscape. A tradeoff has emerged between the costs and benefits of globalization. But the repercussions of this trade-off are not well understood. In large part, that's because the world is lacking in a gameplan for globalization. Mounting imbalances not only threaten the sustainability of the world's economic expansion but they also pose great risks to the cross-border synergies that lie at the heart of economic integration. In our view, it is high time for the world to take these challenges seriously. In the spirit of free and open debate that has long defined the macro culture at Morgan Stanley, we tackle these weighty issues head-on in our year-end opus. In the 25 dispatches that follow, you will find a rich discussion of the policy choices that we believe must be considered if an unbalanced world is to come to grips with the imperatives of rebalancing. It is our collective effort at defining the global policy agenda for 2005. We don't pretend to have the final word on the global conundrum. Nor can we presume that we have covered all the issues. But we feel there is much to be gained by addressing the simple but daunting question -- How to Fix the World?

Jonathan Anderson (WSJ) Dec 17, 2004
The Chinese currency isn't the threat it's made out to be.

Fighting World Poverty a Worthy Second-term Goal
Strobe Talbott (San Francisco Chronicle) Dec 19, 2004
President Bush says he is considering spending the "political capital" he accumulated in winning the recent election to push through reform of Social Security and simplification of the tax system. As he prepares his agenda to present to the new Congress next month, the president might also consider using some of his popularity and political power to help reduce global poverty.

Poland pegs brighter future to euro
IHT Dec 20, 2004
Not yet a year in the European Union, Poland is gearing up for the next mammoth task: swapping the zloty for the euro.

A Letter to John Snow Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Steve Forbes (WSJ) Dec , 2004
Keynes was right: Don't debauch the currency.

Debunking the 'brain drain' myths
Siddharth Srivastava (AT) Dec 21, 2004
Over the years, developing countries have been forced to sit back and watch as their best and brightest depart for greener, more prosperous pastures. But a United Nations migration survey suggests this phenomenon may not be as negative as once thought, instead adding to economic growth.

Outsource or perish
Kunal Kumar Kundu (AT) Dec 21, 2004
Every dollar that US companies transfer to India creates $1.46 in new wealth, finds a study on the impact of outsourcing. While India receives only 33 cents, the US economy captures the rest. The sooner advanced economies understand that offshoring is their engine to a higher plane, the better off they'll be.

2005 Turning Point for the World
ST Dec 22, 2004
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last night gave a broad survey of global developments and set out why he saw next year as a 'turning point' in the war against terror.

China's Bad Example Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Dec 22, 2004
Capital Controls could derail its economic miracle.

WTO Agriculture Negotiations: Members To Agree On "Pre-Modalities" By August 2005
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 8, Number 44 Dec 22, 2004
On 17 December, delegates wrapped up their final "agriculture week" of the year, with Chair Tim Groser of New Zealand calling for agreement on "pre-modalities" by mid-2005, so that Members can strike a deal at the sixth WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December 2005. The agriculture week was the third set of agriculture talks since the July Package, and started off with informal talks from 13-15 December. Among issues discussed during the week were the tariff reduction formula and a paper submitted by the G-33 ("friends of special products") on the special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for developing countries.

The Emperor's Same Old Clothes Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Daniel Ikenson (WSJE) Dec 23, 2004
America's status as an economic superpower does not hinge on its ability to produce socks.

Ten Surprises for 2005
Martin Hüfner (Globalist) Dec 23, 2004
The economic forecasts for 2005 are all fairly similar. We will continue to see growth in the world, but the pace will slow somewhat. Prices will rise only moderately. Interest rates remain low, but will be higher at the end of next year. The dollar will weaken further. All of this sounds plausible. However, something always happens that no one had expected. What surprises could next year hold? Martin Hüfner offers seven possibilities.

Hunger looms in 2005
Jim Lobe (AT) Dec 24, 2004
The world's most generous donor of food aid has long been the United States, but hit by the double whammy of soaring budget deficits and humanitarian crises such as that in Darfur, Sudan, the US is looking at an aid shortfall. With European nations also cutting back, development programs across the globe will almost certainly be delayed, suspended, or canceled altogether in the new year.

US trade tactic splits Arab states
AT Dec 24, 2004
Bahrain is under fire from other Arab states for its free trade agreement with the US. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which is working on a single market and currency, believes the deal will open a back door for US goods to enter the region and lower its bargaining power with the US.

Can Trade Bring Poverty?
Robert P. Murphy (Mises Daily) Dec 24, 2004
Recent developments in the global economy—specifically, higher skilled foreign workers, lower costs of capital movement, and improved communications—have apparently undermined "the" case for free trade, one of the most bedrock conclusions of orthodox economics. In previous articles, I have restated the case in light of the specific concerns raised by economist Paul Craig Roberts. In the present essay, I want to focus on a convenient ambiguity in the new attack on trade, epitomized in a recent piece in Business Week.

Who'll Be James Dean of Dollar's `Chickie Run'?
Andy Mukherjee (Bloomberg) Dec 24, 2004
With the U.S. and China expected to clash over the fate of the dollar in 2005, it's only appropriate that the year should mark the 50th anniversary of the ``chickie run,'' a fatal game that holds a mirror to the trouble brewing between the world's largest economy and its biggest rival.

Dollar hits new low versus euro
BBC Dec 27, 2004
The US dollar has continued its record-breaking slide and has tumbled to a new low against the euro.

Quake's economic costs emerging
BBC Dec 28, 2004
The huge scale of the Asian quake disaster is making it difficult to assess the economic impact, the World Bank says.

Asia's devastation: Deluged without warning
Economist Dec 28, 2004
The world's biggest disaster-relief effort was launched after some 60,000 people were feared killed and millions made homeless by a tsunami across the Indian Ocean. Indonesia suffered the most casualties with over 32,000 believed dead; nearly 22,000 people died in Sri Lanka. Thailand, India, and countries as distant as Somalia and Kenya were also hit by the deadliest tsunami on record, which was caused by a huge under-sea earthquake.

How to Save the Dollar
Katy Hardwood Delay (Mises Daily) Dec 28, 2004
The dollar has again hit a new low in recent weeks on the international currency exchange. The blame is falling from most sectors of public opinion on our legislature, with its debit spending at an all-time high. A few say that the Federal Reserve (FR) could do something about it, but they deny it. Greenspan himself, in his recent conference in Germany, explained once again that interventions are only temporary and ineffective.

Blue: The Next Orange?
Claudia Rosett (WSJ) Dec 29, 2004
Forget reform. The U.N. needs regime change.

A New Silk Road Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Dec 29, 2004
A boost for the world's poor, and the American shopper.

Economic Growth Saves Lives Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Kendra Okonski (WSJE) Dec 29, 2004
The best way to minimize death and suffering is by using economic development to tackle poverty.

Germany Is Back Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Gerhard Schroeder (WSJE) Dec 30, 2004
The weak dollar is a threat to our recovery.

Africa's Hungry Are Fed Bad Policies
Paul Kwengwere (YaleGlobal) Dec 30, 2004
Amidst plagues of war and disease, hunger remains one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most devastating afflictions. Developed countries have responded with aid, relief efforts, and policy interventions to help the region's struggling farmers. But, as Paul Kwengwere writes, behind the gratitude for this assistance looms a debate regarding the long-term value of the terms involved. IMF loan conditionalities coupled with poor agricultural advice are responsible in part for the worsening food situation in Malawi, Kwengwere notes. And now, the introduction and promotion of genetically modified (GM) foods by the United States is proving particularly controversial, as developing countries question the true motives and implications of the gesture. Nevertheless, Kwengwere concludes, desperation will likely ensure that GM foods play a central role in the future of African food politics.

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