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Trade and Development Report 1992

image of Trade and Development Report 1992

The world economy has been suffering its most severe recession since the Second World War. Production has fallen in the United States and flattened in Japan. Western Europe is stagnating: the boost provided by German unification has petered out, while high interest rates remain. Growth has picked up in Latin America, but remains slow there and in other developing regions, other than parts of Asia. Central and Eastern Europe are suffering a precipitous fall in living standards; the transition process is proving much more painful than anticipated. Overall, signs of improvement are scant.

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Reforming trade policies

A large number of developing countries liberalized their trade regimes in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These reforms were generally part of a more comprehensive set of structural adjustment measures aimed at accelerating economic growth. The measures, in turn, were a response both to the economic crisis which many developing countries faced in the past decade and to a general disenchantment with excessive State intervention in economic affairs. As a result of these reforms, the number of developing countries with fairly free trade regimes (and, indeed, fairly liberal overall economic environments) has increased markedly over the past few years.

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