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  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: WTO members are unlikely to reach agreement on radical changes, at least in the short term. At most they may conclude an accord which reaffirms both the principle of consensus and the need for Green Room meetings, and which gives the director-general a role (possibly informal) in ensuring that efficiency is balanced by other considerations. However, an agreement on institutional changes will have little impact on prospects for launching a new trade round. Such prospects will continue to depend on whether members can develop an agenda that all believe will serve their national interests.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Inflation has begun to accelerate throughout the OECD-area, mainly as a result of higher oil prices. The increase comes from a low base and official forecasts suggest that the price outlook is generally benign. However, a further tightening of monetary policy in order to contain inflation at these low levels is now probably the most important threat to asset market valuations and the continued expansion of the global economy. Product market liberalisation, globalisation and the advent of the internet have brought real and lasting changes in pricing behaviour that will not disappear with a global upturn. These trends have been reinforced by improvements in the operation, credibility and effectiveness of national monetary policies. Nevertheless, historical experience suggests that inflationary pressures could accelerate rapidly as the major economies enter their first period of coincident growth since 1988-90. The result is likely to be tighter monetary policy rather than permanently higher inflation and long-term interest rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The political outlook in Northern Ireland has, at least in the short term, been transformed by the political document released by the British and Irish governments and the subsequent statement issued by the IRA. This involves the exchange of a detailed timetable towards the implementation of the Good Friday agreement — including reform of police and security arrangements in the province — for a commitment from the IRA that at least part of their weaponry can be subject to external inspection. This bargain is likely to be enough to permit devolution to be restored shortly. The Northern Ireland peace process has been at an impasse since the British government suspended the operation of devolved institutions on February 11. It did so because the IRA had offered no clear indication as to how it might initiate the process of arms decommissioning — a situation that left Ulster Unionist leader and First Minister David Trimble extremely exposed in his own party. The narrow margin by which Trimble was re-elected leader by the Ulster Unionist Council in March, and that body's further insistence that the proposed reform of Northern Ireland's police force — the Royal Ulster Constabulary — be diluted before devaluation was restored, appeared to plunge the peace process into a state of permafrost.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, North Ireland
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Immediately following the first round, US pressure was influential in eliciting the delayed official announcement that Fujimori had failed to secure outright victory, and that he would have to contest a run-off against leading opposition contender Alejandro Toledo. However, from Toledo's point of view, the US pressure is likely to yield only limited benefits. While it may persuade Fujimori to ensure that the organisation of the second round is unimpeachable, or at least not too openly corrupt, it will not of itself end Fujimori's regime. On the contrary, it is likely to boost the Fujimori campaign by allowing the incumbent to appeal to strong nationalist sentiments in the Peruvian electorate.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The current bubble in 'technology stocks' has led to official concern about over-enthusiasm by investors and the banking consequences of a sudden price collapse. The first signs of the long awaited shift emerged last week, as investors shifted from fashionable technology, media and telecoms (TMT) stock back into traditional 'old economy' blue chips. Capital flooding in from Europe and Japan to the United States has been attracted to booming markets led mostly by these stocks. The rest of the market (misleadingly known as the 'old economy') has risen comparatively little.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Attorney General Janet Reno yesterday ordered the Miami-based extended family of Elian Gonzalez to hand him over to his Cuban father. Reno's actions are expected to bring an end to the custody drama surrounding Elian, who was brought to the United States after coastguards found him floating in the Atlantic Ocean after a failed attempt to escape from Cuba with his mother. Although superficially a dispute between the United States and Cuba, argument about the case has centred upon the demands of the Cuban-American community in Florida, a section of the electorate of sufficient importance to oblige Vice-President Al Gore to make his most public break with the administration in which he serves.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, Cuba
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: A recent meeting of Asian countries on how to combat increasingly violent pirates in the region follows landmark prosecutions of those involve, but years of half-hearted action by coastal states. The International Chamber of Commerce has already called on ASEAN trade bloc nations to join China and Japan in signing the 1988 UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (the Rome convention). It would allow pirates caught in seas beyond national maritime jurisdictions to be prosecuted as international criminals. However, 14 of the 16 countries at the Japanese-sponsored talks in Singapore last March have yet to sign. Findings will be presented to a high-level international conference between regional maritime security agencies and government shipping bodies in Tokyo this month.
  • Topic: Security, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Ulster Unionist Council re-elected David Trimble as its leader on Saturday but by an unexpectedly narrow majority of 57% to 43%. The party also voted to retain the name and insignia of the Royal Ulster Constabulary — the predominantly Protestant police force in the province — a precondition, along with an IRA commitment to decommissioning, a precondition for restructuring an all-party executive that was suspended two months ago. These are impractical terms for negotiations. The Good Friday agreement is now functionally defunct.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Vice-President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush officially secured the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations respectively yesterday. Both candidates have won the nominations exceptionally speedily and the ensuing presidential campaign promises to be one of the longest ever. Providing that the economy continues to perform strongly, Gore should be considered the modest favourite to win November's ballot.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: While the region has now emerged from recession, economic reforms remain incomplete and politically contentious. There is a risk that complacency and intransigence will weaken the momentum behind reforms before their full benefits can be felt. For countries not immediately enveloped by it, the East Asian crisis laid bare the risks associated with postponing economic reform without necessarily producing change.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: East Asia