Yearbook of the United Nations, 2003. Part 3, Economic and social questions. Chapter 4, International trade, finance and transport
Growth in the volume of world merchandise trade in 2003 accelerated to an estimated 4.7 per cent, from 3 per cent in 2002. The improved performance was attributed mainly to increased import demand in developing countries, particularly in Asia, and in the transition economies. Most of the growth occurred during the second half of the year. Among the developed countries, exports of the United States rebounded in the third quarter and those of Japan recovered in the second half of the year. However, Western Europe experienced low growth in both import and export volumes, while the export performance of Central and Eastern Europe was mixed. On the other hand, the external trade of developing countries grew by 9 per cent, well over the world average. International commodity prices improved slightly in 2003, largely reflecting the weakening of the value of the United States dollar. The General Assembly convened an open-ended panel in October to consider the report of the Meeting of Eminent Persons on Commodity Issues, which made recommendations for improving the conditions in commodity markets and for alleviating the poverty of many commodity producers. The net transfer of financial resources from developing countries in 2003 was similar in magnitude to that in 2002, when it reached a peak of $192 billion. There was also a net outward transfer from economies in transition. In Latin America, the increase in exports and deceleration in the decline in imports were not enough to reverse the large net outward transfers experienced in 2002. Likewise, the large net transfers from East Asia resulting from its strong export growth continued in 2003. In September, the multilateral trading system suffered a major setback as the Fifth World Trade Organization (WTO)Ministerial Conference failed to advance the negotiations on key aspects of the Doha work programme adopted at the Fourth (2001) Ministerial Conference. In December, the General Assembly called on WTO members to engage in negotiations with a renewed sense of urgency and to redouble efforts to achieve a successful outcome. In April, the high-level meeting between the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund) discussed coordination and cooperation in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus adopted at the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and identified significant gaps in some key areas. In October, the Assembly held its first high-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, which called for a more precise mechanism for monitoring implementation of the Monterrey Consensus commitments and of related targets in the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by the Assembly in 2000. The Trade and Development Board, the governing body of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), adopted agreed conclusions on Africa's trade performance. It also recommended that the secretariat implement its new strategy for technical cooperation and initiated preparations for the convening in 2004 of UNCTAD XI in Brazil. The International Trade Centre, operated jointly by UNCTAD and WTO, increased its delivery of technical cooperation programmes for developing countries and economies in transition by some 20 per cent.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2003. v. 57; Vol. 57
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