Magazine article International Trade Forum

The Shape of Trade to Come

Magazine article International Trade Forum

The Shape of Trade to Come

Article excerpt

Being competitive in today's international marketplace is a complex affair. Trade talks, fighting corruption, outsourcing, value chains, technology and EU enlargement are among the topical issues that affect the shape of trade to come.

We've captured these trends, and their relevance to business in developing countries, in a special report from the World Economic Forum's annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

For most international business people, "Davos" means the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, a week in the depths of Swiss winter when heads of socially committed companies--all of them doing at least US$1 billion in international business--assemble with leading politicians, academics, media and representatives of civil society to look at trends and prospects for the world over the next 12-18 months. In recent years it has meant an even broader debate: an Open Forum, supported by the World Economic Forum but organized by non-governmental organizations concerned with development, has opened the discussion to a broader group than can fit into the Davos Congress Centre, where the Annual Meeting takes place.

More than ever before, Davos at the end of January reflects how the best-informed decision-makers and activists of all persuasions think the world should go in the coming months to achieve progress on the goals of economic prosperity for whole societies, equitable development and social entrepreneurship. So the Annual Meeting this year heard from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz, a sharp critic of international monetary institutions. It discussed globalization and corruption, supply chains and the demands of responsible consumers, as well as public health, blogging (web logs), terrorism and art's contribution to social creativity.

Among the discussions, a select group of these leaders in the Forum's Global Governance Initiative concluded that "the world is failing utterly to put forward the needed effort" for all the UN's major Millennium Goals set for 2015. …

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