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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that the current round of trade talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization aims at better integrating developing countries—especially the small and poor ones—into the global trading system. For that reason, it was named the Doha Development Agenda when it was launched in late 2001. However, more than three years on, little progress has been made. It took a late July 2004 accord outlining “negotiating frameworks” in agriculture and industrial products just to keep the talks afloat.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

With high oil prices likely to persist over the medium term, many oil-importing countries must decide how to adapt. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) met in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 20 to share their experiences with higher oil prices and discuss strategies. It also invited the IMF, represented by Wanda Tseng (Deputy Director, Asia and Pacific Department), to participate. In her remarks, summarized below, she surveyed the region’s initial response, including partial price pass-through, external borrowing, and the use of reserves. Looking forward, she recommended moving to full pass-through and automatic price adjustments to encourage efficient energy use, as well as measures to cushion the impact on vulnerable groups.