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Think Tank 20 — Growth, Convergence, and Income Distribution: The Road From the Brisbane G-20 Summit

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Think Tank 20 — Growth, Convergence, and Income Distribution: The Road From the Brisbane G-20 Summit
Source: Brookings Institution

On November 15-16, world leaders will gather in Brisbane, Australia for the ninth G-20 summit. Leaders are aiming to increase world GDP and chart a pathway to sustainable, inclusive growth and resilience through both short and medium-term actions. In this report, experts from Brookings and around the world address interrelated debates about growth, convergence and income distribution, three key elements that are likely to shape policy debates beyond the Brisbane summit.

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New From the GAO

November 13, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Program Evaluation: Some Agencies Reported that Networking, Hiring, and Involving Program Staff Help Build Capacity. GAO-15-25, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-25
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666894.pdf

2. Alternatives to Detention: Improved Data Collection and Analyses Needed to Better Assess Program Effectiveness. GAO-15-26, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-26
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666912.pdf

3. U.S. Postal Service: Status of Workforce Reductions and Related Planning Efforts. GAO-15-43, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-43
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666883.pdf

4. Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges: Low Initial Enrollment Likely due to Multiple, Evolving Factors. GAO-15-58, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-58
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666874.pdf

5. Indian Affairs: Bureau of Indian Education Needs to Improve Oversight of School Spending. GAO-15-121, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-121
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666891.pdf

6. Free Trade Agreements: U.S. Partners Are Addressing Labor Commitments, but More Monitoring and Enforcement Are Needed. GAO-15-160, November 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-160
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666788.pdf

7. Free Trade Agreements: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Should Continue to Improve Its Monitoring of Environmental Commitments. GAO-15-161, November 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-161
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666783.pdf

CRS — Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement (October 6, 2014)

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

At the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, December 3-7, 2013, ministers adopted the so-called Bali Package—a series of decisions aimed at streamlining trade (referred to as trade facilitation), allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boosting least-developed-country trade, and helping development more generally. The Bali Package represents the first multilateral trade deal in nearly two decades; however, it covers only a small fraction of the Doha Round mandate and leaves the more difficult trade topics for future negotiations.

The Bali Package included five agricultural issues: (1) export subsidies and other policies known collectively as export competition; (2) tariff rate quota (TRQ) administration focused on managing persistently under-filled quotas; (3) a temporary peace clause for a developing country’s above-market purchases of commodities for food-security stockholding programs; (4) a proposed list of green-box-eligible general services of particular interest to developing countries; and (5) cotton, in response to a proposal from four African members.

International Trade Statistics 2014

November 10, 2014 Comments off

International Trade Statistics 2014
Source: World Trade Organization

International Trade Statistics 2014 provides a detailed overview of the latest developments in world trade, covering both merchandise and services trade as well as trade measured in value-added terms.

A key developments section at the start of each chapter uses charts and maps to illustrate the most important trends. More detailed data are provided in a variety of tables covering specific aspects of world trade up to the end of 2013. A chapter on methodology explains how the data are compiled.

Economic and competiveness gains from the adoption of best practices in intermodal maritime and road transport in the Americas

November 5, 2014 Comments off

Economic and competiveness gains from the adoption of best practices in intermodal maritime and road transport in the Americas
Source: Oxford Economics

Broad-based preliminary estimates suggest implementation of TIR could boost exports in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico by $1-$5 billion per annum, depending on the country, for a total of $9 billion per annum for all three countries. This report, produced by Oxford Economics, explores the maritime and road transport systems in international transport, focusing on trade facilitation and the potential for improvements in trade systems in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico with implementation of the TIR system, as well as potential challenges.

Free registration required.

The Inequality Footprints of Nations: A Novel Approach to Quantitative Accounting of Income Inequality

November 4, 2014 Comments off

The Inequality Footprints of Nations: A Novel Approach to Quantitative Accounting of Income Inequality
Source: PLoS ONE

In this study we use economic input-output analysis to calculate the inequality footprint of nations. An inequality footprint shows the link that each country’s domestic economic activity has to income distribution elsewhere in the world. To this end we use employment and household income accounts for 187 countries and an historical time series dating back to 1990. Our results show that in 2010, most developed countries had an inequality footprint that was higher than their within-country inequality, meaning that in order to support domestic lifestyles, these countries source imports from more unequal economies. Amongst exceptions are the United States and United Kingdom, which placed them on a par with many developing countries. Russia has a high within-country inequality nevertheless it has the lowest inequality footprint in the world, which is because of its trade connections with the Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe. Our findings show that the commodities that are inequality-intensive, such as electronic components, chemicals, fertilizers, minerals, and agricultural products often originate in developing countries characterized by high levels of inequality. Consumption of these commodities may implicate within-country inequality in both developing and developed countries.

Export-Import Bank: Industries and Implications

November 3, 2014 Comments off

Export-Import Bank: Industries and Implications
Source: IBISWorld

The upcoming November elections have turned the renewal mandate for an 80-year-old credit agency into a hot topic. The Export-Import Bank, established in the wake of the Great Depression, is the national export credit agency of the United States. It aims to support US exports by providing financial assistance, including direct loans and loan guarantees, to foreign buyers of US goods. For example, it may support domestic aircraft manufacturers by providing a loan to a Korean airline carrier buying US aircraft.

The Bank’s mandate, last renewed in 2012 and likely temporarily extended to June 2015, faces expiration unless Congress votes to renew it. The debate in Congress centers on both the Bank’s usefulness and the fundamental role of government in the economy. Those in favor of the Bank argue that the agency is essential for supporting US jobs in export-oriented industries. In particular, they argue that the Bank plays an important role in filling the gaps created by private markets unable or unwilling to finance high-risk export deals. Conversely, those against renewing the Bank’s mandate dispute the necessity of government financing, arguing that it crowds out readily available private finance. They also maintain that the Bank hurts other domestic industries by subsidizing their foreign competitors, in addition to misallocating capital, encouraging “corporate welfare” and putting taxpayer money at risk.

With the debate raging on in Congress and in public, the arguments surrounding the Bank have become increasingly politicized. In this light, an analysis of the Bank’s specific areas of operation would help refocus and substantiate the discussion

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