This paper reviews major issues and developments in the trade area and outlines the challenges governments face as they seek to liberalize trade in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and address new trade issues. In industrial countries, the reorientation of policies was most apparent in steps taken to liberalize financial markets and foreign direct investment, privatize public enterprises, and deregulate services, particularly in the transportation and communication sectors. Among developing countries, a growing number recognized the merits of outward, market-oriented policies and took steps to liberalize their trade regimes and open their economies to international competition. By and large, the increased focus on market principles in industrial countries did not carry over to trade and industrial policies or, most notable, to the agricultural sector. Despite strong growth performance in 1983–1989, little progress was made in rolling back the protective barriers that had risen during the preceding recessionary period; protection persists in agriculture and declining sectors and has spread to newer high-tech areas.
The year 2005 marks an important juncture for development as the international community takes stock of implementation of the Millennium Declaration—signed by 189 countries in 2000—and discusses how progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be accelerated. The MDGs set clear targets for reducing poverty and other human deprivations and for promoting sustainable development. What progress has been made toward these goals, and what should be done to accelerate it? What are the responsibilities of developing countries, developed countries, and international financial institutions? Global Monitoring Report 2005 addresses these questions. This report, the second in an annual series assessing progress on the MDGs and related development outcomes, has a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa—the region that is farthest from the development goals and faces the toughest challenges in accelerating progress. The report finds that without rapid action to accelerate progress, the MDGs will be seriously jeopardized—especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is falling short on all the goals. It calls on the international community to seize the opportunities presented by the increased global attention to development to build momentum for the MDGs. The report presents in-depth analysis of the agenda and priorities for action. It discusses improvements in policies and governance that developing countries need to make to achieve stronger economic growth and scale up human development and relevant key services. It examines actions that developed countries need to take to provide more and better development aid and to reform their trade policies to improve market access for developing country exports. And it evaluates how international financial institutions can strengthen and sharpen their support for this agenda. Global Monitoring Report 2005 is essential reading for development practitioners and those interested in international affairs.
Beginning in the late 1970s, and extending to the present, a large number of industrial countries initiated a process of financial deregulation and liberalization. The gains from this have been substantial, including increased access to credit markets by households and enterprises, higher rates of remuneration on deposits, and a more market-determined allocation of resources. Major economic sectors have been affected by this process and the responses of these sectors have contributed to important economic developments in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The Final Act of the Uruguay Round was signed in Marrakesh in April 1994, bringing to a conclusion the eighth and most ambitious set of multilateral trade negotiations. One hundred and twenty-five countries participated in the Round, which will reduce tariff and nontariff barriers to trade in goods, strengthen trade rules and extend multilateral rules to new areas—services and intellectual property—and establish the World Trade Organization. Developing countries participated more actively in the negotiations than hitherto and will be more fully integrated into the multilateral trading system after the Round. This paper investigates the economic implications of these different aspects of the Uruguay Round on industrial, developing, and transition economies, based on information available at the time of preparation of the paper. A quick reference guide to the Round provides a synopsis of the main results (Appendix I) and should be read in conjunction with individual sections below.
Recent developments in the sphere of international economic policy coordination produced an agreement at the May 1986 Tokyo Summit that the major countries should focus on a set of economic indicators as a means of strengthening the degree of cooperation in macroeconomic policymaking already in existence. The Fund was given the formal responsibility for carrying this suggestion forward. In the subsequent development of this idea (see. in particular, Crockett and Goldstein (1987)), emphasis has been given to a taxonomy of indicators of current economic developments, distinguishing those which are signals of policy posture from those which measure intermediate variables, and which in turn are distinguished from those measuring economic performance. Indicators may be used in a number of ways. On a rising scale of increasing international interdependence, they may provide individual countries with a checklist of variables against which to monitor the short-run progress of their economies; they may provide information on the medium-run sustainability of policies; and they may signal in a formal way the need for multilateral discussion of policies.
Trade reform is an important aspect of the Fund’s purposes and objectives. Article I of its Articles of Agreement explicitly refers to the importance of trade for economic prosperity and growth.1 The Fund’s role in the area of trade policy is complementary to that of other international institutions, in particular, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) (Box 1).2
This paper reviews recent developments and issues in trade and trade-related policies of the industrial. Eastern European, and developing countries, focusing primarily on the period since the most recent occasional paper prepared in 1988.1 The paper is organized as follows. Section I reviews the international economic environment and describes briefly the recent developments in trade policy. Section II describes recent trade trends in industrial and developing countries against which developments in trade policies are analyzed. Sections III, IV, and V review developments and issues in trade policy for the industrial, Eastern European, and developing countries, respectively. Section VI provides more detailed coverage of trade-related policies in the agricultural sector and surveys the empirical evidence on the costs of protection and the possible effects of trade liberalization in this sector. Section VII provides an overview of the issues that will be central to the trade policy discussions of the 1990s. Appendix I reviews activities of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Appendix II surveys the relationship between trade and competition policies. Appendix III discusses some of the methodological issues involved in measuring the incidence and effects of nontariff barriers, looks at estimates of the costs of protection in selected industrial sectors affected by nontariff barriers, and compares the results of researchers’ efforts to estimate the possible gains from multilateral trade liberalization.
A liberal trade regime is an important factor in encouraging economic growth and efficient resource allocation. The case for open trade policies and consequent resource allocation improvements and enhanced medium-term growth prospects are well known and supported by a large body of theoretical and empirical work (Box 2).
Economic activity is affected by decisions that are based on projections of future growth and inflation. Consumption and investment decisions rely heavily on projections of future economic developments. Governments plan budgets and set macroeconomic policies based on forecasts of future economic activity. Because large deviations from anticipated conditions may prove to be costly in terms of lost output and employment, it is important to assess whether forecasts are accurate, given the information that is available when they are made.
Masson Paul, Mr. Steven A. Symansky, Mr. Richard D Haas, and Mr. Michael P. Dooley
MULTIMOD (MULTI-region econometric MODel) has been designed to improve the analysis of the effects of industrial country policies on major macro-economic variables, both in the developed and developing worlds.1 It is a continuation of modeling work undertaken at the Fund in recent years, in particular work on the World Trade Model (Spencer (1984)) and MINIMOD (Haas and Masson (1986)), and it supplements individual country and sectoral models, as well as detailed analysis and monitoring performed by country economists. The focus of the model is on the transmission of policy effects, and in this respect therefore it accords well with the Fund’s surveillance over the policies of major countries. More generally, the model can be used to trace the effects of changes in the external environment on the economies of developed and developing countries. To a limited extent, the model can also be used to evaluate policies that developing countries might choose in order to improve their outcomes, for instance, through shifting demand away from consumption and toward investment. However, their monetary and fiscal policy instruments are not at present explicit in the model. The model has not been designed to make unconditional or “baseline” forecasts, nor will it be used for this purpose. Instead, the model has been designed to develop a judgmental baseline forecast that incorporates the detailed knowledge of country economists, and to examine the effects on that baseline of scenarios that involve changes in policies in major countries and other exogenous changes in the economic environment.