Launch of the 2009 WTO World Trade Report (By Invitation) |

Launch of the 2009 WTO World Trade Report (By Invitation)

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Summary Report: LKY School hosts launch of World Trade Report 2009 in Asia

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At a time when trade is experiencing its worst decline since the 1930s, the response of governments around the world will play a big part in determining the impact of this decline and how long-lasting it might be. Resorting to protectionist measures to help domestic producers may appear to be a short-term solution but history has taught us that this can only make matters worse in the long run. The World Trade Report is the WTO's annual analysis of global trade trends and developments. This year's report looks at how trade may be kept open, even when countries are facing economic crisis. It examines the range of measures in trade agreements that governments may call upon and the role that these measures can play. Commonly referred to as contingency measures or safety valves, these measures allow governments a certain degree of flexibility within their trade commitments and can be used to address circumstances that could not have been foreseen when a trade commitment was made. Contingency measures seek to strike a balance between commitments and flexibility. Too much flexibility may undermine the value of commitments but too little may render the rules unsustainable.

The Report analyzes whether WTO provisions provide a balance between giving governments necessary flexibility to face difficult economic situations and limiting the use of these provisions for protectionist purposes. The Report focuses primarily on contingency measures available to WTO members when importing and exporting goods. These measures include safeguards, such as tariffs and quotas, which may be introduced in specified circumstances, the use of anti-dumping duties on goods that are deemed to be “dumped” into a foreign market, and countervailing duties imposed to offset subsidies. The Report also discusses alternative policy options, including the renegotiation of tariff commitments, the use of export taxes, and increases in tariffs up to their legal maximum ceiling or binding. The analysis considers the legal, economic and political economy factors that influence the use of these measures as well as the benefits and
costs associated with such measures.

One of the Report's conclusions is that for a rapid recovery in the world economy, it is essential for countries to maintain free-flowing information on policies affecting trade and for effective monitoring to be undertaken by institutions such as the WTO.

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Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization

Wednesday, 22 July 2009
3.00 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.

Jurong Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road
Singapore 25835

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