Annual World Bank Conference on Development in Latin America by Shahid Javed Burki, Guillermo E. Perry, Sara Calvo

By Shahid Javed Burki, Guillermo E. Perry, Sara Calvo

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0B. Source: International Monetary Fund, Direction of Trade Statistics. What about the Results? Coming back to hard economic facts, overall trade trends in the 1990s provide justifications for optimism. It is true that LAC intra-regional imports and exports grew rapidly in the first half of the 1990s, but imports from the rest of the world grew even faster than intra-regional imports. Moreover, exports to the rest of the world have grown somewhat less rapidly than intra-regional trade, but still at faster rates than during the late 1980s (see Table 3).

The unfinished business of the Round, set on the negotiating agenda, has also been producing results: the telecommunication pact, the information technology agreement, and pretty soon, without doubt, there will be a multilateral agreement on financial services. These multilateral agreements happen to be backed by strong export lobbies that will profit from them, and they have no countervailing import-competing lobbies arrayed against them. So, in fact, the renewal of fast-track to get them through Congress is not necessary.

There is also the difficult question of how much macroeconomic policy coordination will be needed as integration deepens. Finally, at some point a dilemma may arise between "deepening" integration under current schemes, expanding memberships, and building a new free-trade area in the Americas. We expect to cover all these rich topics in this conference. The purpose of the World Bank in choosing this subject matter for its Third Annual Bank Conference on Development in LAC is to promote a wide discussion of all issues that will be crucial for the success of both regionalism and development in the region.

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