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Trade and Development: The Global Dialogue

We are pleased to send you the second edition of the World Bank Quarterly on "Trade and Development: The Global Dialogue". The Quarterly highlights recent World Bank research findings on trade and development, especially those that have implications for the ongoing Doha negotiations, which might be of interest to businesses, trade associations, and civil society groups.

This second edition contains:

New Publications:

Sustaining India's Services Revolution
coauthored by Aaditya Mattoo and Deepak Mishra

This report was presented on June 14, 2004 at a roundtable sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi. The report argues that sustaining India's "services revolution" demands deeper reforms at home, combined with a more aggressively outward-looking stance in international trade negotiations. The report provides evidence that liberalized sectors such as information technology and telecommunications have attracted significant investment, have grown faster and created more jobs than the protected services sectors. Further gains could arise from the progressive elimination of remaining restrictions on trade and investment, in parallel with a strengthening of the regulatory framework. The challenge is to devise innovative policies and efficient instruments to ensure that the efficiency gains from liberalized markets translate into more effective attainment of social goals. India must also address the critical challenges externally of actual and potential protectionism. The current round of GATS negotiations offers an opportunity to lock-in the current open international trade regime for cross-border trade in services. At the same time, India must seek liberal access for the strictly temporary movement of skilled professionals as employees of companies operating across borders, or to fulfill services contracts.

The report in its entirety and accompanying press release can be downloaded from our trade website.

China and the WTO: Accession, Policy Reform and Poverty Reduction Strategies
edited by Deepak Bhattasali, Shantong Li, and William Martin

China and the WTO analyzes the nature of the reforms involved in China's accession to the WTO, assesses their implications for the world economy, and examines the implications for individual households, particularly the poor. Its key objective is to provide the information that will allow policy makers to implement WTO commitments and formulate supporting policies to contribute strongly to economic development and poverty reduction. Individual chapters by leading scholars analyze the nature of the reforms in key areas, such as agriculture, services, intellectual property and safeguards and anti-dumping. These chapters form the building blocks for later chapters which analyze the implications of reform for the economy. The book also includes a series of studies that assess the implications for households, taking into account the social safety net policies applying in China, and the impacts of complementary policies in areas such as labor market reform and investments in human capital.

One of the editors, Will Martin, recently helped launch the book at a dissemination meeting in Wuhan, China. The meeting was intended to complement earlier dissemination meetings in Beijing and Nanjing, and dissemination undertaken through a number of World Bank Institute face-to-face and distance learning courses during the course of the project. The meeting brought together analysts, policymakers and other influential people from all over China to introduce them to the volumes. Conference versions of the book in English and in Chinese were distributed, and key findings were presented.

For ordering information, please visit the World Bank's publication website.

New Trade Notes

Trade Note 16  "Brazil vs. U.S.: Cotton Subsidies and Implications for Development" (pdf - 58k)

On April 26, 2004 the WTO issued an interim ruling in the Brazil vs. US cotton subsidies dispute.  At the heart of the dispute was Brazil’s claim that US domestic subsidies on cotton translated into a 12.6 percent reduction in world cotton prices, resulting in a large financial loss to the Brazilian cotton industry ($600 million in 2001).  According to the author, John Baffes, World Bank Senior Economist, the case is significant for a range of reasons and has future implications for developed and developing countries as well as the WTO and the Doha Development Agenda.  The ruling is the first case that focused on agricultural subsidies in a North-South context and may open the floodgates for other similar disputes. The case also highlights the importance and urgency of the agricultural negotiations in the context of the Doha Development Agenda.  The final ruling should be issued by the end of the summer.

Trade Note 17: "Market Access in Agriculture: Beyond the Blender " (pdf - 56k)

Every multilateral negotiation must find a balance between the flexibility needed for acceptance, and the discipline needed to ensure worthwhile results. The draft framework for the negotiations proposes a tiered formula that holds out promise of progress in expanding developing countries' market access, reducing tariff peaks and escalation. But there is a serious threat that excessive flexibility for "sensitive" agricultural products could undermine the potential for progress. This Trade Note examines the features of different formulae used in the negotiations and discusses the impact of their key features on potential gains in market access for agricultural products.


A World Bank delegation, headed by Gobind T. Nankani, Vice-President of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, participated at the recent meetings of UNCTAD XI in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 10-18, 2004.  The intervention by Gobind Nankani in the context of the High-Level Round Table on Trade and Poverty is attached below.  At that opportunity, Mr. Nankani emphasized the importance of developing countries' active engagement in the Doha Round to foster a development-oriented outcome in multilateral trade negotiations.

Speech (pdf - 21k)

During UNCTAD XI, the International Trade Department of the World Bank, in cooperation with the University of Sao Paulo and the Fundacao Instituto de Pesquisas Economicas, hosted a workshop on the topic "Trade and Development: Is the Multilateral Trade System at a Crossroads?" in Sao Paulo on June 15th. The program of the event as well as presentations made by participants can be found at

Some of the highlights of the workshop were as follows:

  • Recognition of the growing challenges faced by the multilateral trade system under the WTO in view of its increasing complexity (as reflected in the number of countries and issues covered by multilateral disciplines), governance problems (the challenge of reaching consensus), the problems in liberalizing agricultural trade and the spread of preferential trading arrangements,
  • Trade can be an important vehicle for poverty alleviation. Presentations pointed to the harmful impact of Northern agricultural subsidies on poor farmers in the developing world; the need for complementary reforms to ensure that poor people benefit from export expansion; the extent to which the Doha Development Agenda can and cannot contribute to poverty reduction; and how adverse poverty effects of trade reforms can be addressed at the national level and through international assistance.
  • Agreement that trade facilitation can be a lever for economic development. There was some skepticism, however, vis-a-vis the role of multilateral trade disciplines in promoting this agenda.
  • Concerns about the proliferation of preferential trading arrangements and the systemic implications of this trend. Doubts were expressed with respect to the possibility of stronger multilateral disciplines in containing this trend.
  • The complexity of calculating the welfare effects of agricultural liberalization in the context of still unsettled formulae for tariff reductions and uncertainty about the treatment of domestic support and export subsidies. Some interventions underscored the limitations of focusing efforts on market access in the absence of stronger disciplines on subsidies to constrain agricultural dumping. Special attention was given to the case of cotton in this context.
  • The final panel discussed the future of the multilateral trade system and, in particular, of the current round of negotiations. Most participants concurred with the view that frameworks for future negotiations in agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA), as well as decisions on how to proceed with respect to cotton and the so-called Singapore Issues, could be agreed upon by July 2004, but that the level of ambition of these agreements is likely to be modest.

Trade Facilitation: Regional Training Workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh

On June 8-10 the World Bank's Trade Department and the European Union held a three-day trade facilitation workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The event brought together senior customs and government officials, representatives of the private sector from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and resource people from WTO, UNCTAD, UNECE, WCO, the World Bank, SITPRO and ADB. While the agenda covered a range of topics, much of the deliberations focused on the obstacles to customs reform and other trade facilitation measures specific to South Asia and on the region's readiness to embark on trade facilitation reforms in the context of ongoing WTO negotiations.

Although most South Asian countries see trade facilitation as an integral part of their trade liberalization efforts, some participants expressed concerns about their country's lack of capacity and resources needed to implement certain trade facilitation measures under WTO-mandated obligations. The full implementation of a customs modernization program, for example, was viewed by some as prohibitively costly and a potential source of increased legal disputes, in the event of delays. Country representatives discussed whether it would be more prudent to pursue trade facilitation as part of a unilateral trade reform funded through domestic sources and through technical assistance from donor agencies and international organizations. It was recognized that technical assistance, in addition to what some countries already receive, would be required to build up the capacity of most South Asia countries to fulfill their trade facilitation agenda.

For more detailed information about the workshop, including a copy of the program, background materials and speeches and presentations, please visit our country-specific website

Other links of interest:
Summary of Bank activities on trade facilitation
Trade Note 15: "Trade Facilitation: Ways WTO Disciplines Could Promote Development" (pdf - 80k)
Trade Note 12: "Trade Facilitation: New Issues in a Development Context" (pdf - 248k)


Fourth Workshop of the Regional Integration Network (RIN)
Montevideo, Uruguay, December 15-17, 2004
Sponsored by LACEA (Latin American and Caribbean Econometric Association)
Organized by CERES (Center for the Study of Economic and Social Affairs)

The Workshop brings together top researchers and policymakers from the North and the South to discuss recent theoretical and empirical advances in the economics and politics of Regional Integration Agreements (RIAs). The goal of these meetings is to use the findings of research in order to gain a better understanding of the problems, opportunities and policy challenges faced by Latin American countries in the process of integration and also to encourage further research on the subject.

The program will consist of ten brainstorming sessions, divided into two invited sessions and eight regular sessions. The papers for the regular sessions will be selected from among the submitted papers. Papers presented in the invited and regular sessions will be briefly commented by a discussant leaving ample time for general discussion. Papers and discussants for the regular session as well as the participants for the invited sessions will be selected by a Program Committee. Both theoretical and policy oriented papers are welcomed and a special emphasis will be placed on highlighting work of young scholars.

Those interested in participating should send an email stating the paper title and abstract to no later than September 3, 2004. The submission deadline for papers and research projects is October 4, 2004. For additional information about the workshop and to obtain a list of suggested topics, please visit

Call for papers (pdf - 105k)

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