Oxford Earth Summit |  www.earthsummit.info |  Feedback |  Latest News! |  NGO of the week
        Water |  Corruption |  Trade |  Environment |  Human Rights |  Education |  Health | Climate
  NEW! Earth-Info.Net weblog co-operative: Babirusa.OrgOxford-Forum.OrgBan The BulbSnare Art

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Bretton Woods Project... latest news update released
The Bretton Woods Project has released its latest Update (No. 38) of news which contains the usual range of fascinating insights and comments on, and criticism of, World Bank + the International Monetary Fund activities...

One report includes the following, highly evocative description of the proceedings at a meeting organised by the UK Department for International Development, the World Bank, IMF + UNDP...

...in the second panel when Kamal Malhotra, Head of UNDP's International Trade Department, just off a snow-delayed flight from New York, ran into an implacable Hans Pieter Lankes, the IMF's trade chief. The jumper-clad Malhotra, his luggage apparently still somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, was first off the mark, asserting that "trade liberalisation follows, rather than precedes growth". He demanded that "the multilateral trading regime must shift to an enabling rather than disabling policy environment", and pointed to four conditions that must be met: trade should be seen as a means to human development and not an end in itself; a diversity of trade strategies should be encouraged; governments must have the right to protect institutions; and, finally, no country has the right to impose institutions on others. Malhotra closed with a call for "asymmetric rules, where the principles of reciprocity should be limited to the more developed."

Lankes appeared rattled by the frankness of Malhotra's intervention and went off-script to defend the trade liberalisation camp. Developing country representatives must have been left stunned by his opening remarks that "the reality in the past has been a lot of space for developing countries." Despite conceding the need for such policy space to take into account the impacts of liberalisation, Lankes lamented that it would be "unfortunate to shift to the extreme of eclecticism." The Fund view was that government failure was more damaging than market failure. Lankes concluded giving some clue as to the direction of Fund work in trade in the coming months: "there is no reason to put sensible policies in the fridge just because multilateral talks are off-track."