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  • Author: Jose De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin America's recent economic performance has been disappointing. After a very strong recovery from the Great Recession, growth has slowed considerably, and prospects for 2015 are dim. Among the seven largest economies in the region, output is expected to contract in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela, and Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are projected to grow by only about 3 percent. The decline was not caused by external factors but was mostly cyclical in nature and a result of low productivity. Although monetary and fiscal policies may still have a role in supporting demand in some instances, the main problem in the region is not a lack of demand but low productivity growth. Efforts must be made to foster productivity. Institutional weakness must be addressed and inequality reduced if sustainable high growth is to resume.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Public lending by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) may have done more harm than good in Brazil, adversely affecting real interest rates and productivity growth. Specifically, BNDES's large amounts of subsidized lending are responsible for substantial credit market segmentation, choking off monetary policy transmission. As a result, to maintain price stability the Central Bank of Brazil is forced to raise interest rates more than it might do otherwise in the absence of BNDES lending. Restoring Brazil's capacity to grow in the medium term requires a thorough rethinking of the role of BNDES. In particular, the bank's lending rates should be aligned with market prices, term and risk premia, while taking into account that, with an adequate transparency framework, public development banks can increase private sector participation instead of crowding it out.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Multinational enterprises (MNEs) multiplied their profits made in developing countries by four between 2002 and 2011 (at current prices). In Latin America and the Caribbean, they rose from US$20 billion in 2002 to US$113 billion in 2011. The growth rate has been even higher in Africa and China, but much lower in developed countries. This rise is explained by an increase in FDI stock in developing economies and the higher average profitability of MNEs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Latin America
  • Author: Roberto Alvarez, José De Gregorio
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Latin American performance during the global financial crisis was unprecedented. Many developing and emerging countries successfully weathered the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Was it good luck? Was it good policies? In this paper we compare growth during the Asian and global financial crises and find that a looser monetary policy played an important role in mitigating crisis. We also find that higher private credit, more financial openness, less trade openness, and greater exchange rate intervention worsened economic performance. Our analysis of Latin American countries confirms that effective macroeconomic management was key to good economic performance. Finally, we present evidence from a sample of 31 emerging markets that high terms of trade had a positive impact on resilience.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: At the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) held in Oslo, Norway on October 2-3, 2013, the forum reviewed and subsequently released its second report on members' experiences in the application of the Santiago Principles for sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). The Santiago Principles were adopted by a group of countries with such funds in September 2008 in response to concerns about threats to political, economic, and financial security in countries receiving SWF investments. The objective was to promote the transparency and accountability of SWFs for the countries of origin as well as the countries in which the funds were investing.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Norway, Latin America, Santiago
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Mauricio Cá¡rdenas, Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: A trio of trade agreements now pending before Congress would benefit the United States both economically and strategically. Carefully developed accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will boost U.S. exports significantly, especially in the key automotive, agricultural and commercial services sectors. Among the other benefits are: increased U.S. competitiveness enhancement of U.S. diplomatic and economic postures in East Asia and Latin America new investment opportunities better enforcement of labor regulation and improved transparency in these trading partners' regulatory systems.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Israel, Colombia, Latin America
  • Author: Alexandre de Gramont
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In his recent article, “Thinking twice about a gold rush: Pacific Rim v. El Salvador” (Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 23, May 24, 2010), Professor Gus Van Harten uses the PacRim v. El Salvador arbitration, pending at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), as the basis for asserting a number of criticisms against the overall system of arbitration under investment treaties.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Gus Van Harten
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Whether it concerns oil drilling or gold mining, sometimes a government, facing new circumstances, must change its mind.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Premila Nazareth Satyanand
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Hitherto, political risk has worried developed country multinational enterprises (MNEs) investing in developing country markets. But as more emerging market firms invest overseas, they too must grapple with this subject. World Investment and Political Risk 2009 looks at this issue for the first time and finds that Brazilian, Russian, Indian, and Chinese (BRIC) firms appear to worry more about political risk than global counterparts. Though these results are based on as mall sample of 90 of the largest BRIC investors, they are thought-provoking nonetheless.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Latin America
  • Author: Paul Teng, Margarita Escaler
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last four decades, Brazil has transformed its agricultural sector to become the first tropical agricultural giant and the first to challenge the dominance of the world's major food exporters. This paper examines the secrets of Brazil's success and ponders whether Asia should try to emulate the Brazilian model to help achieve food security for its people and contribute to an increased level of selfsufficiency in the region.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Luís Afonso Lima, Octavio de Barros
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The internationalization of Brazilian companies is a relatively recent phenomenon. From 2000 to 2003, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) averaged USD 0.7 billion a year. Over the four-year period 2004−2008, this average jumped to nearly USD 14 billion. In 2008, when global FDI inflows were estimated to have fallen by 15%, OFDI from Brazil almost tripled, increasing from just over USD 7 billion in 2007 to nearly USD 21 billion in 2008 (annex figure 1 below). Central Bank data put the current stock of Brazilian OFDI at USD 104 billion, an increase of 89% over 2003. Caution is in order about these figures, however, as in Brazilian outflows it is difficult to separate authentic FDI from purely financial investment under the guise of FDI. According to the most recent data, 887 Brazilian companies have invested abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Michael Mortimore, Carlos Razo
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Despite the global crisis, outward FDI by Latin American firms grew by more than 40% in 2008. The picture for 2009 is less clear, due to the expected regional GDP contraction, falling commodity prices, and tightening credit markets. Nonetheless, the authors argue that many countervailing factors make Latin American investment more resilient in the crisis than other regions may be.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Lorenzo Cotula
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Over the past 12 months, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines in a flurry of media reports across the world. Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Roger Noriega
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean always seems to inspire criticism: Too much, too little, too late. Back off. Get in the game. Don't just stand there, do something. Don't do something, just stand there. Our geographic closeness has meant a rich, natural partnership, but this proximity easily stirs concerns over sovereignty. When the United States is preoccupied with events in other parts of the world, regional pundits accuse Washington of indifference. If we speak clearly on the issues in Latin America, we are excoriated for poking our nose “where it doesn't belong.” So where does this leave U.S. foreign policy in the region? It could be that what we do may not be as important as how we do it. The first step in developing a new paradigm for engaging the Americas is using the 2008 election cycle here at home to develop a serious domestic constituency for our policy. Then we should shape that policy through a conscientious dialogue with stakeholders in the region.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Washington, Moscow, Latin America
  • Author: Raúl Zibechi
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Although every Latin American government pays lip service to integration, taking the concrete steps needed to attain it is much more difficult than simply issuing declarations. In the wake of the collapse of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), Latin America faces the dilemma of remaining divided and at the mercy of the interests of the great powers, or setting out on the road to continental unity. Even if the forces in favor of integration prevail, the type of integration to be constructed remains to be defined.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Laura Carlsen
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The stage was set for a showdown. When the Bush cabinet announced intentions to revive the moribund Free Trade Area of the Americas at the Fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, the countries of the Southern Common Market closed ranks to prevent it. What followed was a diplomatic melee that reflects not so much divisions within Latin America, as a growing resistance to the current free trade model throughout the developing world.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Jacob Steinfeld
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (FDI) HAS TRANSFORMED MEXICO'S BANKING SYSTEM during the past decade, making it the second largest in Latin America with $165 billion in commercial assets in 2003. In the past four years, Mexico received $25.3 billion of FDI into its financial sector. This composes nearly 40 percent of total FDI inflows into the country. As a result of FDI flowing into the country's financial sector, the Mexican banking system has the highest ratio of foreign ownership in Latin America.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: After a decade of rapid economic growth, the Dominican Republic entered a downward spiral in 2003. The economy shrank for the first time since 1990, the inflation rate quadrupled, the Dominican peso collapsed, government debt more than doubled, interest rates soared, and the central bank incurred large losses.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: This series began more than a dozen years ago with an essay titled "U.S.-Latin American Relations: Where Are We Now?" Since this is the last issue of Latin American Outlook, it seems worthwhile to pose the question again.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The March presidential election in El Salvador, in which the conservative ARENA (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista) Party won its fourth consecutive victory in fifteen years, invites serious consideration and analysis. At a time when many governments in Latin America are being voted out of office by anti-establishment (and sometimes, anti-party) candidates, and attacks on "neo-liberalism" and globalization are increasingly the order of the day, El Salvador seems to be swimming strongly against the tide. What lies behind this anomaly?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America, El Salvador
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The collapse of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government in Haiti and his unseemly flight out of the country may have come as a surprise to Americans and others who were not watching closely. It could not have been unexpected by those who were. Haitian history tends to repeat itself, and after a long detour, the circle closed once again. Even the sudden occupation of the country by a multinational force headed by the U.S. Marines is not without precedent. The big question is whether this time the cycle of failure will be broken.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Anyone who follows the Latin American news—even out of the corner of one eye—must be aware of the fact that Colombia, one of South America's largest and most strategically and economically important nations, has been bogged down for more than a decade in a seemingly intractable civil conflict. The term "civil war" is a misnomer in this case, to the extent that it suggests that roughly equal forces are confronting one another. The Colombian case is less dramatic than this but far more complex. On one hand there is the Colombian state and most ordinary citizens—some 40 million of them; on the other, two guerrilla groups, the most important of which, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), can count on roughly 17,000 armed militants. The failure of the Colombian state to provide basic security from the guerrillas, particularly in rural areas, led during the last two decades to the more or less spontaneous creation of the so-called Autonomous Defense Forces—paramilitary forces, or "paras," for short—whose ranks today number 13,000. While the FARC and other self-styled guerrilla formations claim to be fighting for a Marxist revolutionary project, their ideology is largely decorative. In fact they are thugs for whom violence is a way of life and has been for many years. They specialize in kidnappings and murders. The FARC alone has kidnapped more than a thousand people—politicians (including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt), soldiers, and police, presumably to win release of about five hundred militants captured by government forces. What makes the FARC an enduring phenomenon is not that it enjoys much popular support, but that, because it engages in drug trafficking on a monumental scale, it is perhaps the most economically self-sufficient insurgency in the history of Latin America.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Probably more than any other Latin American country, the Argentine Republic is susceptible to abrupt changes of spirit and mood. Ten years ago it was apparently hurling itself, pell-mell, into the twenty-first century as South America's great example of economic liberalization and diplomatic alignment with the United States. Today both notions are distinctly out of fashion there, and no wonder—the advantages of both were drastically oversold to the public by the administration of President Carlos Menem (1989-1999). At the end of 2000 the economy virtually collapsed; for a time it appeared as if the country might actually dissolve as a coherent political community. Thanks to the strong hand of Senator Eduardo Duhalde, who took over at the end of 2000 from Fernando de la Rúa, Menem's successor, civic order was restored, though the last three years have been the worst in Argentina's modern history, more dismal even than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Carol Graham, Paul Robert Masson
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In recent years, the international financial system has faced tremendous challenges, from the Asia, Russia, and Brazil crises in the late 1990s, to Argentina's default and ensuing economic collapse in 2002 to new worries about a possible default in Brazil. An increasing number of observers are questioning the way the international financial institutions manage these crises. An alternative approach that is endorsed in principle by many—including Horst Köhler, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—is a move toward more selective lending with fewer conditions, with the decision to lend based on a more general and ultimately political assessment of the recipient government's capacity to deliver on its promises. Argentina provides a potential test bed for this approach.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, Brazil, Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week's piece examines the impact of the economic crisis on the Argentine banking sector. The collapse of the peso-dollar peg dealt a serious blow to the already weakened Argentine banking system, which now faces a significant restructuring process.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Paul Masson, Michael Pomerleano, Robert E Litan
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Foreign direct investment in financial firms in emerging markets surged in the 1990s, although not equally in all places. The main beneficiaries: Latin America and Central Europe, with Asia a distant third. This conference report summarizes findings on the impacts—mainly positive—of this significant inflow of funds and managerial and technical know-how, as well as recommendations for policies toward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the future. The main recommendation: countries with restrictions generally should relax them, even when their own financial systems are weak. At the same time, foreign entry gives rise to new policy challenges, supervisory and competitive, which emerging markets need to confront both unilaterally and with cooperation from source country governments.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America, Central Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The real is stabilising against the dollar following the announcement of the latest draft agreement between Brazil and the IMF on August 3. The provision of additional resources by the Fund is designed to support the value of the real and prevent the Brazilian economy from sliding into recession.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In response to regional instability and two years of recession, Uruguay's government has taken measures to stimulate economic growth.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: C. Richard Nelson, Jr. Gillespie, Brandon Grove Jr., David E. McGiffert
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The implications of the transfer of the Panama Canal go well beyond U.S. relations with Panama. This complex transition provides an important lesson for Latin America and the rest of the world on how countries of vastly different size and outlook can work together. The success of this 20 year process lies mainly in first identifying the primary common interest of the United States, Panama and the major canal users: access to an open, safe and efficient canal. Important but secondary concerns, including U.S. military access to facilities in Panama, were addressed during the process but never were allowed to displace the primary interest. By focusing on this clear, compelling key objective, both Panama and the United States were able to accommodate fundamental changes in the political, economic and security context, including several changes in administrations, tough negotiations and even a military confrontation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: John Chown
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Currency boards have been suggested for Russia, and adopted elsewhere in eastern Europe. Brazil's fixed rate has had to be abandoned, but Argentina is considering replacing its currency board with dollarization, and suggesting this solution for the rest of Latin America. Fixed exchange-rate regimes (and the crawling peg in Russia) have collapsed in Southeast Asia but Hong Kong, which had a formal currency board, has (so far) survived.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America