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Global Trade and the WTO

Singapore Workshop

January 12–13, 1999
Co-hosted by the World Bank and
The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

Abstracts of Papers Presented

Global Trade and the WTO
Kym Anderson, Adelaide University

Professor Anderson's paper examines the changes that technology and policy have made to the opportunities for developing countries in the global trade arena. First, we have seen rapidly falling freight rates and telephone charges, combined with the more recently gained ability to transfer digital information around the world at almost no cost. This has opened up new opportunities for trade and greatly increased the importance of human capital in determining growth rates. Second, policy reforms under the GATT and WTO have brought about a far more open global trading regime. Together, these developments greatly increase the benefits to poorer countries from committing to an open trade and payments regime. The paper also suggests the need for active developing country participation in the WTO to ensure that future negotiations reflect their interests. Finally, the paper indicates that there might be a role for governments to support investment in rural infrastructure and education so that the benefits of globalization are widely spread through the economy.

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