Joint media release from the Australian Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Treasury

Monday, 15 October, 2001

Report on Globalisation, Poverty and Inequality

The Departments of the Treasury and Foreign Affairs and Trade today announced the release of a report Globalisation and Poverty Turning the Corner, prepared by the Australian Centre for International Economics in advance of APEC meetings in Shanghai next week.

The report details unprecedented income growth and poverty reduction in developing countries which have managed to open to the world economy in the second half of the 20th century.  It underlines the serious challenges faced by countries that have not joined the global economy.

Evidence presented in the report shows international income inequality has fallen over the past 30 years (twice as much in APEC countries as in the world as a whole) when countries' population sizes and the purchasing power of local incomes are considered.

The report suggests that developing countries that have recently opened to the world economy achieved tremendous gains.  Developing countries that have not joined this process of economic integration have suffered tragically.

Good policy choices and national measures to mitigate inequality, supported by well-targeted development assistance and global action to reduce trade barriers, are shown in the report to be the keys to accelerating progress.

The report underscores the importance to the poor of global action to reduce trade and investment barriers.  Rich OECD countries spent US$300 billion each year on farm support more than six times the total amount given to developing countries as aid.

The report, prepared with the assistance of the AusAID, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Treasury, can be found at www.dfat.gov.au and www.treasury.gov.au

Media inquiries: Terry O'Brien (Treasury) on 02 6263 3756 / Lyndall Sachs (DFAT) on 02 6261 1555