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  December 1999    

1999 trade report released at UNU/WIDER
On 20 September 1999, the United Nations held a press conference at the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU/WIDER) in Helsinki to release the Trade and Development Report 1999, a major report on development policies worldwide published annually by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The 1999 report was presented to the media by Dr. Mansoob Murshed, director of the UNU/WIDER research project on Globalization and the Obstacles to the Successful Integration of Small Vulnerable Economies.

As part of his presentation, Dr. Murshed discussed how world trade and capital flows affect developing countries as well as financial crises and macroeconomic management. Developing countries have laboured hard, often at considerable costs, he noted, to integrate more closely into the world economy. After the debt crisis of the 1980s, they liberalized their trading and financial regimes as a recommended avenue towards accelerated economic growth. But persistent problems in the international economic system do not augur well for future developments.

The 1999 report reaches some challenging conclusions about private capital flows and international trade relations in the 1990s, and poses several difficult issues that must be addressed if globalization is to progress well for all in the next millenium. Like its predecessors, the 1999 report also analyzes the situation of the world economy, its prospects and downside risks. It offers an empirical analysis of the links between economic growth, external deficits and instability in developing countries over the past three decades; an explanation of why trade rather than augmented private capital flows is the more secure basis for development in the South; and a comparison of recent financial crises in Asia, Russia and Latin America.

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