The annual Trade and Development Report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) analyzes current economic trends and major international policy issues and makes suggestions for addressing them. The 2018 report examines how economic power is being concentrated in a smaller number of big international firms and the impact this is having on the ability of developing countries to benefit from their participation in the international trading system and to gain from new digital technologies.
The report finds that the world economy remains on shaky ground a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, with trade wars a symptom of a deeper malaise. While the global economy has picked up since early 2017, growth remains spasmodic, and many countries are operating below potential, states the report. This year is unlikely to see a change of gear.
“The world economy is again under stress,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD. “The immediate pressures are building around escalating tariffs and volatile financial flows but behind these threats to global stability is a wider failure – since 2008 – to address the inequities and imbalances of our hyperglobalized world.”
The report prioritizes three actions: tie trade discussions to a commitment to full employment and rising wages, regulate predatory corporate behavior and guarantee sufficient policy space to ensure that countries can manage their integration in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.