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Assessing World Bank Support for Trade, 1987-2004 : An IEG Evaluation

  • Independent Evaluation Group
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    This evaluation of the Bank's assistance on trade-related issues focuses on the period between fiscal years 1987 and 2004. The majority of developing countries have significantly improved their environment for trade and economic growth, following over two decades of assistance from the Bank in trade reform. Arguably, the developing world is more open today than at any time in recent memory. Developing countries have more than doubled their exports since the mid-1980s, helping many of them to grow steadily. Exports and imports have risen as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP) across a wide range of countries, fueled in part by China's remarkable trade performance, and the growth in services trade. Trade policies have also been significantly liberalized. Average import tariffs have fallen steadily over the period, although the fall in other forms of protection has been more gradual. Between fiscal years 1987 and 2004, about 8.1 percent of total Bank commitments went to 117 countries to help them better integrate into the global economy. This financing has been accompanied by a large volume of analysis in operational economic and sector work (ESW), research publications on trade, and working papers on trade-related topics. During the first phase (starting in the 1980s), the Bank focused largely on the traditional trade agenda related to opening up economies. During the second phase, from the mid- to late-1990s, the Bank's emphasis on trade declined, although the impact of earlier trade reforms was still playing out. In the third phase, initiated with the collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Seattle trade ministerial meeting in 1999, growing pressure to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and interest from development partners (notably bilateral donors), led the Bank to reappraise its trade activities. This phase has focused on the global trading system, and "behind-the-border barriers" to trade. The Bank's trade activities during the period were led by a grade policy reform package supported by four components: import-related; export-related; exchange rate and foreign exchange management; and, industrial and other supporting policies. This assessment reviews project-related outcomes and outputs, to focus on the progress toward a more development-friendly trading. Recommendations include addressing poverty-distributional outcomes and external shocks in a balanced approach; revisiting the balance between global and country agendas, and strengthening operational links on trade issues; and, strengthening knowledge management efforts.

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    This book is provided by The World Bank in its series World Bank Publications with number 6966 and published in 2006.
    ISBN: 978-0-8213-6591-5
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:6966
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
    Phone: (202) 477-1234
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    1. Safadi, Raed & Laird, Sam, 1996. "The Uruguay Round agreements: Impact on developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1223-1242, July.
    2. John Whalley, 1998. "Why Do Countries Seek Regional Trade Agreements?," NBER Chapters, in: The Regionalization of the World Economy, pages 63-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    11. Gurushri Swamy, 2004. "The Impact of International Trade on Gender Equality," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11271, The World Bank.
    12. Pomfret, Richard, 2001. "The Economics of Regional Trading Arrangements," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248872, July.
    13. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
    14. Thomas, Vinod & Nash, John, 1991. "Reform of Trade Policy: Recent Evidence from Theory and Practice," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 219-40, July.
    15. Petia Topalova & Amit Khandelwal, 2011. "Trade Liberalization and Firm Productivity: The Case of India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 995-1009, August.
    16. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Measuring outward orientation in LDCs: Can it be done?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 307-335, May.
    17. Mark Gertler & Kenneth Rogoff, 2004. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gert04-1, December.
    18. Williamson, John, 1997. "Exchange Rate Policy and Development Strategy," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 17-36, Supplemen.
    19. Maurice Schiff & L. Alan Winters, 2003. "Regional Integration and Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15172.
    20. Revenga, Ana, 1995. "Employment and wage effects of trade liberalization : the case of Mexican manufacturing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1524, The World Bank.
    21. Dani Rodrik, 1993. "Trade and Industrial Policy Reform in Developing Countries: A Review of Recent Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Pursell, Garry & Gulati, Ashok, 1993. "Liberalizing Indian agriculture : an agenda for reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1172, The World Bank.
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