World Trade Shines Despite WTO Controversy

Even as protesters at the World Trade Organization's Ministerial meeting in Seattle decry the pace and process of economic development around the globe, international trade is posting one of its most impressive gains in recent years. World trade is expected to rise 8.1% in 1999's second six months, compared with only 4.4% during the year's first half, reports the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). Trade is forecast to advance 6.8% during the first six months of the year 2000 and another 6.5% in the year's second half. Inflation-adjusted GDP growth for the OECD, which consists of 29 of the world's most advanced economies, is expected to be 2.8% during 2000's first half and 2.7% during the second six months. Both figures may prove to be a bit low, however. The European Union's own GDP projections for 2000 are two-tenths to three-tenths of a percentage point higher -- as is the consensus forecast for real GDP growth in the U.S.

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