The World Bank’s annual Report—Global Economic Prospects 2005: Trade, Regionalism and Development 2005, was launched on November 16, 2004. While the multilateral WTO talks remain mired in contentious debate, new bilateral and regional preferential trading arrangements are mushrooming all over the globe. The surge in regional trading arrangements prompts many questions that the Global Economic Prospects 2005 takes up:
- what type of regional and bilateral arrangements are most beneficial -- and which types stifle development?
- are these agreements inspire deeper integration that multilateral trade agreements cannot?
- do they contribute to -- or detract from -- incentives for countries to engage in the multilateral Doha trade talks?
SPEAK OUT! Q&A with lead author Newfarmer (Nov 23, 2004)
Presentation & transcript from Nov 16 Washington D.C. launch.
"A wave of regional agreements is sweeping the trade world. Both North–South bilateral arrangements, such as the United States–Chile free trade agreement, and South–South plurilateral arrangements, such as the just-proposed South Asia Free Trade Area, pose challenges and opportunities for developing countries. These agreements not only influence trading opportunities for people in member countries and elsewhere but also violate the most basic principle of the multilateral trading system: nondiscrimination. Global Economic Prospects 2005 takes on two urgent questions: can these agreements be designed to promote development in its broadest sense, and can they do so without hurting countries left out?"
— François Bourguignon, Senior Vice President
and Chief Economist, The World Bank