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April 14, 2024 

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WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: An international organization that oversees multilateral trade among nations. The World Trade Organization, or WTO, was established in 1995 by the Uruguay round of trade negotiations to replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that had been in place for the preceding five decades. The WTO administers multilateral trade agreements, provides a forum for trade negotiations, handles trade disputes, monitors national trade policies, and provides technical assistance and training for developing countries. The WTO has about 150 member countries.

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INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: An agency of the United Nations established in 1945 to monitor and stabilize foreign exchange markets. Close to 150 of the world's nations (which is just about all of them) belong to the IMF. The IMF was set up to keep countries from manipulating their exchange rates in such a way as to gain a competitive trading advantage over others. Their strategies of control have changed over the decades, but they currently use a managed float where exchange rates are allowed to fluctuate with changing market conditions, but only within certain ranges. The IMF also plays an active role in providing the "international" currency needed to participate in foreign trade through its system of Special Drawing Rights.

     See also | foreign exchange market | exchange rate | J curve | managed float | fixed exchange rate | floating exchange rate | foreign trade | Special Drawing Rights | World Bank | G-7 |


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LAGGING ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Seven economic statistics that tend to move up or down a few months AFTER business-cycle expansions and contractions. Most importantly, these measures indicate peak and trough turning points about three to twelve months after they occur. Lagging economic indicators are one of three groups of economic measures used to track business-cycle activity. The other two are coincident economic indicators and leading economic indicators.

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The portion of aggregate output U.S. citizens pay in taxes (30%) is less than the other six leading industrialized nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, or Japan.
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