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  • Author: Daniel H. Rosen, Thilo Hanemann
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 1967 Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber published Le defi americain, a call to beware of American multinationals buying up the world. In the 1980s and 1990s it was Japan's turn, spawning books like Clyde Prestowitz's 1993 Trading Places: How We Are Giving Our Future to Japan. Today it is China's outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) that elicits the most anxiety China's OFDI has reached commercially and geoeconomically significant levels and begun to challenge international investment norms and affect international relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, America, Asia
  • Author: Adam S. Posen, Nicolas Véron
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since mid-2007, public authorities in the European Union have broadly met the challenge of ensuring a functional degree of liquidity and preventing financial meltdown. The Eurosystem has even been ahead of the curve compared with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England in discounting early on a wide variety of assets to a range of counterparties. However, despite unprecedented central bank intervention, extensive government guarantees since October 2008, and macroeconomic assistance (with the International Monetary Fund) to the European Union's weakest member states, the underlying state of continental Europe's banking industry remains very fragile.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A once-familiar but long-neglected acronym has reappeared in newspapers in recent weeks. We have read that the G-20 meeting in London endorsed a proposal that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should create $250 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). We have been told that one problem with this proposal is that most of the SDR allocation would accrue to countries that are unlikely to use them, and some readers may have seen proposed ways around this difficulty. We have read that the governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, has proposed that the SDR should gradually displace the dollar at the center of the international monetary system and that surplus countries should be able to convert their dollar holdings into SDR-denominated assets. No one can doubt that the SDR is back.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Pertti Joenniemi
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In order to generate momentum, the European Commission has recently prepared a strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, this being the first of its kind with regard to the various European macro-regional formations. The strategy stands out as a goal-oriented and visionary document and clearly exceeds the scope of the Union's traditional policies vis-à-vis regional formations. But does it really stand for a strategy in the proper sense of the word in aspiring for a fresh start, choosing between different priorities and providing guidance in a programmatic manner for the Baltic Sea Region to gain the status of a 'model' and a forerunner among the various macro-regions in the EU? In probing the issue, the brief suggests a conditional 'yes'. It argues that there are many indications that the document should indeed be regarded a strategy. In addition to providing insight into the aspirations of the EU with regard to the Baltic Sea Region, the brief also argues that regionalization is enjoying increased legitimacy and standing in EU policies in general.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeffrey Frankel
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The current economic crisis is fundamentally different from those we have experienced in recent past. The proximate causes of previous recessions (1980-2 and 1990-91) were increases in interest rates in response to inflation. This time around, however, low interest rates and loose monetary policy during the period 2003-2005 had contributed to a bubble in asset prices, rather than to inflation. This-coupled with an underestimation of risk in our financial system, failures of corporate governance, and excessive debt by both households and government-caused the crisis of 2007-09.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Germany
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Elena Gnedina
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2009 gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia has led to a severe drop in Russian gas supplies to some EU member states. The dispute has once again shown that the status quo is defective and unsustainable as a policy. This Policy Brief argues that – beyond ad hoc temporary measures, such as the monitoring by EU experts agreed on January 12th and the 2009-10 price agreement apparently reached on January 18th – the problem needs a comprehensive and robust solution. This would be a gas transit consortium, bringing all major stakeholders – Gazprom, Naftohaz, one or a few European energy companies, and the international financial institutions – to jointly manage the trans-Ukrainian trunk pipeline. The consortium agreement would be underwritten politic ally and legally by a tripartite treaty to be ratified by the EU, Russia and Ukraine. The consortium should be bound by European standards of transparency, corporate governance and accounting in order to tackle the major problem – the lack of trust – in the EU- Ukraine-Russia energy triangle.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Peter McCawley
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem? In addition to the current Global Financial Crisis (GFC), there is a second global crisis: long-term mass poverty in the third world. While the rich world worries about a repeat of the Great Depression, today more than a billion people in Asia live in conditions of bitter poverty which are much worse than those of the 1930s. As a result of the GFC, poverty in developing Asia is now likely to increase.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Michael Wesley
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem? International education is Australia's third-largest export market, earning over $15 billion in export income annually. But as tertiary institutions face incentives to maximise income from foreign students, some have lowered language standards and cut costs on student welfare and service provision.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Education, Globalization, Migration
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Mark P Thirlwell
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What is the problem ? On 16 November 2008, G20 leaders made a commitment to resist protectionism. When they meet in Pittsburgh, on 24 September 2009, they will have an opportunity to review that commitment and to decide how best to act on it. The advice they have received to date focuses on international monitoring and short-term responses to the global economic crisis. These measures do little to deal with the underlying causes of protectionism.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Stephen Grenville
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: International external imbalances have been blamed for playing a central role in the Global Financial Crisis. China's large external surplus usually figures prominently in these explanations. While a more balanced account of the causes of the crisis would give only a modest role to external imbalances there seems little doubt that some adjustment of these imbalances over the next few years is both inevitable and desirable, not because external imbalances in themselves are inherently undesirable, but because some of the specific components of today's current balances are unsustainable. Markets could bring about these necessary adjustments over time. History, however, tells us that market-driven adjustments are often accompanied by exchange-rate overshooting and trade- threatening protectionist responses.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Uri Dadush
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Since its inception in 1995, the World Trade Organization has been the guardian of stability and predictability in world trade, but it has failed to fulfill its promise as a source of new trade rules and liberalization. Conclusion of the diluted Doha Development Agenda will not end the need for WTO reform. At the heart of WTO reform must be a more flexible approach to negotiations, one more tailored to the needs of individual countries and groups. The process of reflection and consultation on WTO reform should begin with the WTO Ministerial in Geneva in November.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Geneva
  • Author: Richard N. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The US dollar is not the world's key currency by policy design, just as English is not the leading global language by policy design. It is the evolutionary outcome of practice and experience. It would take both a major shock to the dollar and a viable alternative to dislodge it from widespread use. Like a common language, the dollar enjoys “network externalities”— the greater the number of people who use and accept it, the more useful it is to everyone, and the more entrenched it becomes. Also, what is not quite the same thing, the dollar enjoys a large market in low-risk and highly liquid securities, most notably US Treasury bills; the liquidity both enhances and is enhanced by the network externalities. Most of the world's foreign exchange transactions directly involve the US dollar. It is easy to hold and easy to use, even on a large scale. In short, it is highly convenient.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John Williamson
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In a recent Cato Institute paper, Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar (2009) asserts that the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights (SDRs) cannot rival the US dollar, as suggested by the Chinese central bank governor (Zhou Xiaochuan 2009). “The SDR is not a currency and never can be,” Swami declares confidently in the first paragraph of his paper. He presents two arguments, which are presumably supposed to be proofs of this proposition.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mohsin S. Khan
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As oil prices began to rise in 2009 from a low point of about $40 a barrel in January to around $70 a barrel in July, a key question is whether the world is in for another oil price spike in the near term similar to that witnessed in early 2008. Several hypotheses were advanced when world oil prices started their inexorable climb from 2003–04 onwards, then skyrocketed from $92 a barrel in January 2008 to cross the $140 a barrel mark in June, finally hitting a record high of $147 a barrel on July 11, 2008, before collapsing to less than $40 a barrel in December (figure 1). There was the “peak oil” explanation, based on the theories of M. King Hubbert of “Hubbert's Peak” fame and his supporters, notably Colin Campbell and Matthew Simmons, that the world was running out of oil. There were the market “fundamentalists,” including importantly John Lipsky, the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Philip Verleger, a well-known oil expert, who argued that the fundamentals of demand and supply were primarily behind the extraordinary rise in oil prices in the first half of 2008 (Lipsky 2009a, 2009b; Verleger 2005, 2008). Interestingly, this fundamentals view was also shared by the US Treasury and was articulated by David McCormick, then undersecretary for international affairs, in a presentation in July 2008 at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Finally, there were those who maintained that such an increase could only be a “bubble,” unexplained by peak oil theory or market fundamentals. Many financial-market participants were proponents of this third view, notably Michael Masters (2008), as well as the main oil producers, who were as surprised as anyone at the speed and size of the price increase over only a few months. Their argument was that the phenomenal increase in financialization of commodity markets during 2006–08, including in particular the oil market, led to speculation and momentum trading, which pushed oil prices way beyond their long-term equilibrium level as determined by fundamentals.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Wim Naudé
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: T HE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN AND RECESSION, WHICH spread across the globe following the US sub-prime mortgage crisis in September 2008, has become the dominant news topic of the past year. One year into the crisis it has become clear that the paradigm for international development has changed irrevocably. With leadership, moral authority and the capacity of the West diminishing, developing countries' recovery and future growth will critically depend on their own initiatives and solutions.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jakob Vestergaard, Martin Højland
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: If the UN Millennium Development Goals are to be reached by 2015, development aid needs to be tripled – which is most unlikely. Instead, countries should unite in a concerted multilateral effort to combat illicit financial flows: for every dollar poor countries receive in development assistance, more than eight dollars are illegally transferred back to rich countries, most of it in order avoid local taxation. Effectively combating these illicit financial flows would generate more financial resources for development than foreign aid is likely to ever do – and help build a sustainable tax base in developing countries for the benefit of future development efforts.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, London, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Luxembourg
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Lauren Falcao
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: More than 200 million people reside in a country that is not their birthplace. This “diaspora nation” of migrants outranks all but four of the world's countries in population. These migrants make an immense economic contribution both to their host country and to their home country, primarily through transfers of money they earn back to their home country, which are known as “remittances.” About 82 percent of migrants originate in developing countries, and their remittances, which amounted to an estimated $305 billion in 2008, represent an essential source of foreign exchange for these countries, as well as a major instrument in the fight against poverty.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Migration, Immigration, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Dubai
  • Author: Michael Pettis
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: In September, the Obama administration imposed tariffs on Chinese tires. In October, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would launch an investigation into imports of seamless steel pipes from China. That same month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.–China Business Council, two groups that in the past have defended Chinese policies, testified to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that Chinese contracting rules, technical standards, and licensing requirements were protectionist.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Randal O'Toole
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Sometime in 2010 or 2011, Congress expects to decide how to spend the $250 billion or more of federal gas taxes and other highway user fees that will be collected over the next six years. The process of doing so is called surface transportation reauthorization. A major point of contention in this law is how much of our transportation system should be centrally planned and how much should be built and operated in response to the needs of actual transportation users.
  • Topic: Economics, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Warwick McKibbin, Peter Wilcoxen, Adele Morris
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s 2007 Bali Plan of Action calls for the next agreement to ensure the "comparability of efforts" across developed countries while "taking into account differences in their national circumstances." Trends in national emissions and economic growth vary widely between countries, as do yearto-year fluctuations around those trends. This means that achieving similar reductions relative to historical base years can require very different levels of efforts in different countries. These differences have greatly hampered climate cooperation because it means that commitments that are similar in effort look inequitable. Further, divergent underlying trends make it difficult to know the effort that any particular commitment will require. The failure of the G-8 to set a base year for its agreed 80 percent reduction of emissions by 2050 illustrates the contention in formulating even collective targets.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Late on November 25, just before the start of the Islamic Eid festival and, coincidentally, Thanksgiving in the United States, Dubai's flagship investment company Dubai World announced that it would be requesting a six-month delay on paying its debts. Within hours, Dubai's reputation was being rewritten, and its ambition to be a financial center, building on its historic reputation as a focal point for regional trade, was being recast. Uncertainty continued on November 30, when the Dubai government said that it would not guarantee Dubai World's debt. In any event, the larger story has been the nervousness of world financial markets, which are now also evincing worry about the debt of countries like Greece or Ireland. Within the Middle East, the focus is on the extent of support that Dubai will receive from Abu Dhabi, the neighboring -- and richer -- member sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whether other city-states like Bahrain and Qatar are also at risk, and whether Dubai's links with Iran will change as a result of its financial situation.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi
  • Author: Sue Smith, Antonia Bance, Louie Fooks
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This paper, based on two pilot projects conducted by Oxfam with LSPs in Sunderland and Thurrock in 2008-9, looks at how local authorities can increase the representation and participation of women in LSPs, and how needs differ by gender. The evidence from the pilot projects clearly shows that LSPs can, and must, take concrete steps to involve women more effectively in local decision-making – and take their particular needs into consideration in setting targets for services such as transport, unemployment, and housing – in or der to improve their economic and social well-being and tackle the poverty and social exclusion they face. The paper makes a series of recommendations to those involved in LSPs as to how to do this, and gives examples of good practice.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stephen Grenville, Mark P Thirlwell
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: In September 2009 the Pittsburgh Summit designated the G-20 as the world's premier forum for international cooperation. The G-20's arrival at the apex of the international economic architecture gives East Asia a much greater presence at the top table of the world economy: six regional economies, including Australia, are members of the G-20, in contrast to the G7, which only had room for Japan. This increase in representation creates important new opportunities for the region. But making use of these opportunities requires significant increases in policy-making resources. Unfortunately, in many Asian economies, such resources are in short supply relative to the wide variety of pressing problems the region currently faces.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, East Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: John H. Makin, Vincent R. Reinhart, Peter J. Wallison
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: One year ago, on September 14, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. The next day the Dow fell five hundred points. Soon thereafter, the government essentially nationalized AIG, made Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley into bank-holding companies, and petitioned Congress for aid. In early September, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been placed in government conservatorship. These events followed the bursting of the housing bubble. We present here three essays written by AEI scholars in the spring and summer of 2009 on the origins of the financial crisis whose reverberations we continue to feel today. Vincent R. Reinhart sets the stage by reminding us of the importance of getting the story of what happened right, as policy recommendations flow from our understanding of what occurred. He also tells us that “the narrative first written about the Great Depression was wrong in many important respects.” John H. Makin and Peter J. Wallison focus on the misguided policies that contributed to the crisis. In a new Economic Outlook, Makin discusses three important lessons of the financial crisis that should be understood in order to enable a faster, more effective policy response to future crises.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: President Obama has been supporting a new bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, designed to promote the labor unions' drive for unionization. This bill, if enacted, will surely be a big boon for unions as it helps enlarge their membership, enhance their bargaining power vis-à-vis businesses, and enrich their coffers to wield political clout. An important issue here, however, is how such reinforced unionism contributes to the U.S.'s much needed industrial competitiveness and employment—and, more specifically, how this new policy will affect the U.S. as a host to FDI in the auto industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Laza Kekic
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The global economic and financial crisis has had a major impact on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. After declining in 2008 by 17% to US$1.73trn from US$2.09trn in 2007—the high point of a four- year long boom in cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M) and FDI—global FDI inflows are forecast to plunge by 44% to less than US$1trn in 2009. The big drop in 2009 is occurring despite the improvements in the global economy in recent months. A notable feature of trends in 2009 is that, for the first time ever, emerging markets are set to attract more FDI inflows than the developed world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles Kovacs
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The first sovereign wealth fund (SWF) was established by Kuwait in 1953, and was followed by many others from 1973-4, after the first oil crisis. Since then, each major jump in oil and gas prices increased the number and size of SWFs; after 2000, countries with large trade surpluses also began to establish SWFs. By April 2009, SWFs had grown to $3-5 trillion of assets under management, invested mostly in high quality bonds. Equity investments have been a much smaller part of their portfolio and began to grow only in the 1990s. This trend has since accelerated with at least 698 documented equity investments between June 2005 and March 2009.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Political Geography: Kuwait
  • 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: Jaya Prakash Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Just over a year ago, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) from India seemed to be on a path of rapid and sustained growth. Its annual average growth of 98% during 2004–07 had been unprecedented , much ahead of OFDI growth from other emerging markets like China (74%), Malaysia (70%), Russia (53%), and the Republic of Korea (51%), although from a much lower base. Much of this recent growth had been fuelled by large-scale overseas acquisitions, however, and it faltered when the global financial crisis that started in late 2007 made financing acquisitions harder.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Malaysia, India, Korea
  • Author: Subrata Bhattacharjee
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On March 12, 2009, the Canadian federal government passed significant amendments to the Investment Canada Act (ICA), Canada's foreign investment law of general application. Though the amendments generally liberalize important aspects of the Canadian foreign investment review regime, they also include a broadly worded national security test that now allows the responsible Minister to review proposed investments in Canada on national security grounds. On July 11, 2009, the government published draft regulations that provide the details of the new national security review process. A detailed summary of the amendments and regulations is included in an extended note available at www.vcc.columbia.edu.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Veljko Fotak, William Megginson
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Until the end of 2007, western media, governments and regulators often seemed more concerned about protecting domestic firms from investments by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) than about attracting capital inflows. Politicians in many countries called for the regulation of sovereign foreign investments at that time, when SWF investments were growing rapidly. In fact, during 2006 and 2007, countries that introduced at least one regulatory change (many of them related to such investments) making the investment climate less welcoming for multinational enterprises accounted for 40% of all FDI inflows.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Author: Susan D. Franck
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: We know several things about foreign investment. First, foreign investment matters, reaching US$1.7 trillion in 2008. Second, we know that foreign investors have new international law rights to protect their economic interests. Third, we know that those rights are now being used.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christian Bellak, Markus Leibrecht
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A crucial challenge to all countries in the current economic crisis is to stimulate investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI). Countries striving to attract FDI often resort to two types of policies: improving infrastructure or lowering taxes, as a means of attracting new FDI, or keeping existing FDI. Indeed, recent empirical studies (e.g. Bénassy-Quéré et al. 2007; Bellak et al. 2009) confirmed that both lower taxes and improved infrastructure exert a considerable influence upon multinational enterprises' decision to invest in a particular country, when controlling for other important location factors (like market size, labor costs etc.).
  • Topic: Economics, Infrastructure, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Gert Bruche
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With some delay, the internationalization of business R is following the globalization of production. Starting on a small scale during the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of globally distributed R networks of multinational enterprises (MNEs) accelerated rapidly in the 1990s. The “globalization of innovation” was facilitated and driven by a complex set of factors, including changes in trade and investment governance, improved intellectual property rights through TRIPS, the growing ease and falling cost of communicating and traveling around the globe, and the concomitant vertical industry specialization and unbundling of value chains. The growing and sustained level of cross-border M was one major direct driver, often having the effect that merged firms inherited multiple R sites in a number of countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Anne Van Aaken, Jürgen Kurtz
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Several developed countries have introduced emergency measures to mitigate the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, including Australia, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Although the measures taken are still undergoing changes by the executive branch and are thus a “moving target”, our survey reveals early evidence of differentiation between foreign and domestic actors in the emergency plans adopted by this sample grouping. It is this differentiation that may give rise to liability as breaching guarantees against discrimination of foreign investors under international investment law.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Ireland
  • Author: Mark E. Plotkin, David N. Fagan
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On December 22, 2008, new regulations setting forth the U.S. government's national security review process for foreign mergers and acquisitions of U.S. businesses became effective. They are the ultimate step in a lengthy effort to revise and strengthen the reviews undertaken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”).
  • Topic: Economics, National Security, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jefferson Fox
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Over the last half-century, public policy has affected land-use practices across the borders linking China, Thailand, and Laos. Political and economic reforms have facilitated labor mobility and a shift in agricultural practices away from staple grains and toward a diverse array of cash crops, rubber being one of the foremost. China has promoted the conversion of forests to rubber agroforestry in southern Yunnan--profitable for farmers, but a concern in terms of biodiversity and long-term viability. In Thailand, the response is at the other end of the spectrum as the government's concerns about land-use practices and watershed management have led to policies that dramatically constrain land-use practices and limit tenure rights. In Laos the future is not yet clear. Government policies provide weak support for both private land ownership and protected areas. In a global environment where national policy has such a dramatic effect on land use and land cover, the factors behind land-use change merit close examination.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Martha Brill Olcott
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The absence of a functional government in Afghanistan has been creating economic and security challenges for the Central Asian states since their founding in 1991. Long frustrated by the international community's failure to end the Afghan civil war through negotiation, the 2001 September 11 attack created the expectation among these countries that the US would intervene successfully in Afghanistan, leading to an economic recovery that would advance the development of all the states in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: China's economic statistics have become the envy of the world. On July 15, China reported a 7.9 percent growth rate for the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, China's stock markets are on fire, and its property markets are heating up fast as well. Shanghai's two stock markets are up 75 percent and 95 percent respectively so far this year. The more widely traded Hong Kong Index is up 27 percent, a stellar performance compared to largely flat stock markets in the United States, Europe, and Japan. In even stronger contrast, Russia, which is one of China's emerging-market peers, has seen its economy drop by 10.1 percent during the first half of this year, while its stock market has struggled as well.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Europe, Hong Kong
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Governor Zhou Xiaochuan's comment is an open acknowledgement that the “adverse feedback loop,” in which financial-sector problems hurt the real economy, which in turn intensifies negative conditions in finance, has hit China hard. China's real growth rate, which peaked at 13 percent in 2007 and is heavily dependent on exports, plunged to 6.1 percent on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2009. Nominal growth, a measure of the current money value of goods and services, fell even more sharply, from 21.4 percent in 2007 to 3.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. The fact that the nominal growth rate is 2.5 percent below the real growth rate suggests that, at least as far as output is concerned, deflation has taken hold at a 2.5 percent rate in China.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The recent steps by the Federal Reserve to preempt deflation have—ironically and unexpectedly— prompted a surge in inflation fears both inside the United States and abroad, especially in China. Specifically, the Fed's measures to go beyond the stimulus inherent in a zero percent federal funds rate by purchasing Treasury and mortgage securities has conjured visions—especially in the eyes of major buyers of Treasury securities, China foremost— of massive money printing to underwrite trillions of dollars of additional government borrowing at low interest rates. As markets have shown, if that were the Fed's intention—which it decidedly is not—the effort would fail because excessive money printing—creating a money supply larger than the quantity of money demanded— would push up interest rates as inflation expectations rose.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: More than two years have passed since the U.S. housing bubble burst. That event ushered in a financial crisis that was not only intense but also stunning. So stunning in fact, that in August of last year, just a month before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global economy was close to a crisis worthy of comparison with the Great Depression, yet neither the markets nor the Federal Reserve had much of an inkling of what was to come. The Standard and Poor's (S) 500 Index had come down to about 1,300 from its October 2007 high of 1,576. Positive growth had just been reported for the U.S. economy during the second quarter of 2008 at an annual rate of 2.8 percent (later revised down to 1.5 percent). Almost one percentage point of that growth came from U.S. consumption, and government spending also contributed. The wave of relief after the Bear Stearns scare in March 2008 had provided a nice boost to the economy and to markets. That boost was further enhanced by the substantial contribution to growth from net exports (2.9 percentage points) thanks to what was, then, continuing strength in the global economy, especially in China, which had reported blistering 10.1 percent year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2008. These and other positive components more than offset a drag from inventories and residential investment. In short, the real economy had not shown much evidence of damage emanating from the chaos that was churning in the financial sector.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The only thing scarier than the slide of the dollar, which has dropped by 15 percent since March, would be an attempt by the Federal Reserve to stop it. Such an attempt would show that we have learned nothing from the Bank of Japan's disastrous premature exit from a zero-interest policy in August 2000. Closer to home, it would resemble the Fed's premature move to mop up “excess” reserves by doubling reserve requirements in three steps between August 1936 and May 1937, which was followed by the third-worst recession of the twentieth century, from May 1937 to June 1938.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Wall Street is dancing again to the music of a sharp rise in stock prices. The question that remains is whether Main Street, currently languishing in a sad world of job losses, unavailable credit, and weakened balance sheets, will get to join the party. To put the question more precisely, will the “adverse feedback loop” that saw a financial collapse last fall that crushed the real economy work in reverse, so that a financial bounce boosts the real economy in coming quarters? The jury is still out on this important question.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Manju Kedia Shah, Alan Gelb
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Why has the private sector failed to thrive in much of sub-Saharan Africa? Drawing on a unique set of enterprise surveys, we identify inadequate infrastructure (especially unreliable electricity and poor quality roads) and burdensome regulations as the biggest obstacles to doing business. We find as well that the private sector in many countries is dominated by ethnic minorities, which inhibits competition and lowers demand for a better business environment. Solutions include investing in infrastructure, providing risk guarantees, and reforming regulations to lower the cost of doing business, as well as increasing access to education for would-be entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Before the global economic crisis began in 2008, all countries in Latin America, long known as the world's most economically and financially volatile region, had experienced five consecutive years of economic growth, a feat that had not been achieved since the 1970s. Yet despite this growth, Latin America's incomeper-capita gap relative to high-income countries and other emerging-market economies widened, and poverty remained stubbornly high. Latin America, in short, suffered from growing pains even when things were going reasonably well.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru
  • Author: Paola Subacchi, Eric Helleiner
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: From many perspectives, the London Summit of the G20 leaders at the beginning of April 2009 was a success – and a hard act to follow. The discussion was framed around crisis resolution and the strengthening of the international financial architecture. Beyond any concrete achievement, the success of the London Summit is that it morphed into an ongoing process with a rolling agenda, rather than remaining a one-off event. Undoubtedly the Italian Presidency of the G8 has a hard task, being caught between the success of London and the decreasing relevance of the G8. But there is also scope for building a meaningful bridge between London and the G8 meeting in L'Aquila in July 2009, and continuing and strengthening the economic governance reform process. There is an urgent need to continue to push for progress on a number of key items that were not adequately addressed at the London Summit and where progress can be made in L'Aquila – fostering clarity for the G20 agenda for the next meeting in Pittsburgh in September 2009. With regard, in particular, to the reform of the International Monetary Fund, the Italian Presidency should use its G8 chair to initiate a dialogue on reform of the European representation, taking advantage of having all the key players gathered together in L'Aquila.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, International Monetary Fund
  • Political Geography: Europe, London, Italy
  • Author: Nazery Khalid
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Maritime Institute of Malaysia
  • Abstract: The Wall Street meltdown has had a massive domino effect on major industries worldwide. The ensuing financial crisis cuts deep and wide across the global economy. It has clipped the wings of growth of many business activities and industry.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Maritime Commerce, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Malaysia
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Transparency International
  • Abstract: Cartels are illegal and costly. They inflate prices for consumers, exact an economic toll on countries and undermine the integrity of companies. Cartels can form in any sector, ranging from health care and transport, to construction and telecommunications. They leave no industry untouched or consumer unburdened. When companies engage in collusion by conspiring to fix prices, markets become inefficient and consumers bear unjustified price hikes that can reach up to 100 per cent.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Law