World trade grows 27-fold since 1950: WTO

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2007, 21:07 [IST]
 

New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) This year's World Trade Report states that global trade has grown twenty-seven fold in volume terms since 1950, three times faster than world output growth.

The Report, which celebrates 60 years of global trading system on January 1, 2008 said the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT) (GATT) WTO system has helped to liberalise trade, though the progress has been uneven and success limited in some areas.

The Report, however, admitted that agricultural trade liberalisation has proven particularly challenging and the results have been limited so far.

The polarisation between the developed world led by the United States-Euorpean Union, and the developing countries led by India and Brazil on terms of agricultral trade has hampered the progress of Doha Round of development which has been in the works for five years now.

Similarly, trade in labour-intensive manufactures still faces relatively higher trade barriers in major markets, the Report added.

Evenwhile stating that the global trading system has been a source of prosperity, stability and predictability for six decades, WTO chief Pascal Lamy today admitted that GATT and the WTO have not done all they could, particularly for developing countries.

Lamy, who has been pitching for early conclusion of the Doha Round, said ''by striking an ambitious and development-oriented agreement in the Doha Round we can greatly strengthen a system which has done much to make the world a better place.'' Referring to this year's World Trade Report, he said it takes an in-depth look at the GATT and its successor WTO, their origins, achievements, the challenges they have faced, and what the future holds.

The world trading system, Lamy said, has contributed significantly to post-war prosperity, but has not delivered all it could and still faces formidable challenges.

Stating that the Report makes clear that the multilateral trading system is confronted by considerable challenges, Lamy said immediate task is to conclude the current negotiations to the benefit of all parties and prepare the WTO to play its rightful role in international trade governance.

As the balance of economic power and the focus of international interests shift, the Report asked whether governments see viable alternatives to the inclusiveness implicit in today's global trading system. ''The future of the WTO depends entirely on how far governments value such an institution,'' the Report said.

The Report discussed contributions made by WTO in reducing uncertainty, facilitating negotiations, disseminating information, reducing transactions costs, helping in settlement of disputes, administer agreements, monitor policies and acted as an agent for surveillance.

Conclusion of Doha Round remains one of many challanges facing the WTO system, the Report said.

UNI


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