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Foreign Policy in Focus, March 30, 2009
By Walden Bello
Like an injured German U-Boat, the global economy continues to sink. Columnist Walden Bello asks: Can the G-20 meeting bring it back to the surface before we all perish?
The Group of 20 (G20) is making a big show of getting together to come to grips with the global economic crisis. But here's the problem with the upcoming summit in London on April 2: It's all show. What the show masks is a very deep worry and fear among the global elite that it really doesn't know the direction in which the world economy is heading and the measures needed to stabilize it.
Geneva, 24 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- In what it viewed as the biggest such contraction since the Second World War, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has forecast that exports will decline by roughly 9% in volume terms this year due to the collapse in global demand brought on by the biggest economic downturn in decades.
The contraction in developed countries will be particularly severe with exports falling by 10% this year. In developing countries, exports will shrink by some 2% to 3% in 2009, WTO economists said.
In its annual assessment of global trade, the WTO said that economic contraction in most of the industrial world and steep export declines already posted in the early months of this year by most major economies - particularly those in Asia - makes for an unusually bleak trade assessment for this year.
Our Trade Program aims to stimulate citizen education and action for a global trade system that is just, sustatainable and democratic. In the global economy, trade should be a tool for development. Yet, the neo-liberal model of free trade that dominates cross border sales of goods and services today is designed to serve the market interests of transnational corporations rather than the development priorities of people. The main focus of our program has been to challenge the World Trade Organization --- which acts as the governing body for the global economy --- plus regional trade regimes such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Free Trade Area of the Americas.