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Issue 1/Jan-Feb 2008



* EU–India Free Trade Talks: In Whose Interest? Market access at the expense of the people
“The Indian middle class is hungry for exciting food and drink experiences” – at least according to Mariann Fischer Boel, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture. When it is signed and sealed by the end of 2008, the free trade agreement between the EU and India is supposed to help quench this appetite. The EU wants to export wine, whisky, olive oil and 40 types of fish, among other things, to India when the customs barriers fall. Yet to whom such treaties are really helpful, Christa Wichterich asks.
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* 2008: The Risk of a Global Economic Recession. New UN report gives clear warning
The world economy faces serious challenges in sustaining the strong economic growth of the last few years, the UN says in its report World Economic Situation and Prospects 2008 (see reference). The baseline forecast of the United Nations for world economic growth is to moderate to 3.4% this year, following the trend line down from 3.9% in 2006 and 3.7% in 2007. But there is a clear and present danger of the world economy coming to a near standstill. WDEV summarizes the report
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* The EITI Initiative beyond German G8 Presidency: From Heiligendamm to Hokkaido
“Responsibility for raw materials”, “transparency in the extractive sector” and “resource politics for conflict zones” have been important topics for the German G8 Presidency last year. Never before has the issue of natural resource management been higher on the international policy agenda and there seems to be a wind of change. But what exactly has the German Presidency changed, what are the issues it moved forward and what are the challenges that remain, asks Lili Fuhr
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* Are We ‘All Keynesians Now’ - Again? Washington’s big rate cuts and fiscal stimulus
It was 1971 when Richard Nixon, a conservative, uttered the famous phrase "We are all Keynesians now”. But there was a backlash soon to follow, with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher changing the world as perhaps no two other people did in the 20th century. Ronald Reagan's "supply-side economics" was never taken seriously in the economics profession – even at the height of his influence there was barely a handful of economists that would lend their names to it. But the economics profession did, in its research at least, throw out many of the insights that had made John Maynard Keynes the most influential economist of the century. By Mark Weisbrot
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* Global Foreign Direct Investment at New Heights. An overview
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows grew in 2007 to an estimated US$1.5trillion, surpassing the previous record set in the year 2000, according to UNCTAD. FDI continued to rise in all regions of the word economy largely reflecting the high-growth propensities of transnational corporations (TNCs) and strong economic performance in many parts of the world. Increased corporate profits and an abundance of cash boosted the value of the cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As) that constitute a large portion of FDI flows, although the value of M&As in the latter half of 2007 declined. By Michael Monks
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* Brazil-Haiti: South-South Cooperation against Child Labour
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere where an estimated 300,000 children work as child labourers. Last month, the Brazilian government announced a programme to fight child labour in Haiti to be coordinated by the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC). The programme is part of a major new initiative to promote South-South cooperation in the fight against child labour worldwide. Carla September reports
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