The collapse of the WTO's Doha round in July 2006 highlighted how contentious agreeing international trade rules can be. But developing countries also introduce trade reforms at the national level, as part of economic adjustment programmes supported by the World Bank. These have proved highly controversial as different social and economic groups lose or gain in opening the national market to foreign competition and investment.
As policymakers talk of 'pro-poor growth', this briefing for journalists explores the polarised debate on the links between trade liberalisation, economic growth and poverty reduction, and looks at the possible effects of reforms on the agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors.
It encourages journalists to ask questions about the costs and benefits of trade reforms for different people in their countries, and describes how the media can stimulate debate about the options for making trade work in favour of the poor.