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  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Piashkina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The rapid digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for policy makers working within a governance framework that evolved over centuries. Domestic policy space needs to be redefined for the digital age, and the interface with international trade governance recalibrated. In this paper, Dan Ciuriak and Maria Ptashkina organize the issues facing policy makers under the broad pillars of “economic value capture,” “sovereignty” in public choice and “national security,” and outline a conceptual framework with which policy makers can start to think about a coherent integration of the many reform efforts now under way, considering how policies adopted in these areas can be reconciled with commitments under a multilateral framework adapted for the digital age.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Digital Economy, Multilateralism, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Christof Ruhl
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Oil markets are sending confusing signals at a time when more confusion is the last thing anyone needs. When Russia walked out on OPEC+ rather than contribute to more output cuts, Saudi Arabia turned on the crude taps. Whatever Riyadh’s intention, this “price war” was quickly made meaningless by the impact of the new coronavirus on global oil demand. The price collapse has been beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Now, storage room for crude is becoming scarce. Analysts warn darkly that plunging prices may threaten global economic stability. Equities follow the oil price news. Everyone seems to agree that prices should stop falling; and yet no one seems to argue that a very low oil price is exactly what the world’s economy needs to recover. The combination of price war and pandemic is also creating strange bedfellows. Some American shale producers are advocating that their country blocks Saudi oil imports, others want to talk to OPEC. President Donald Trump’s government has expressed an interest in cooperating on global oil supplies with Saudi Arabia and Russia; it’s nudging OPEC+ to reconvene, or an even wider group of producers to meet. Could we be witnessing the emergence of an unholy alliance of Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S., to “manage volatility,” and incidentally shore up the price of oil?
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The last four years have borne witness to a range of new sanctions, policies, and approaches around the world. Some of these were predicted in November 2016, as Donald Trump took to sanctions far more than his predecessors, using them to tackle virtually every foreign policy problem he encountered. In fact, Trump’s use of sanctions transcended their typical usage in both form and content, as he employed tariffs and other more traditional “trade” tools to try to manage a bevy of nontrade problems. The long-term effects of this decision have yet to be felt or properly understood. It may be that Trump was ahead of the curve in seeing the fracturing of the global liberal economic order and employed the US economy for strategic advantage while it was still ahead. It may also be that Trump undermined the US position in the global economy through his policies, if not actually hastened the demise of this system of managing global economics. Time and the evolution of policy in other global power centers will eventually tell. The shifting approach to sanctions policy by a variety of other states is a manifestation of the potential effects of Trump’s policy choices in using US economic power. From the EU to Russia to China, other countries have changed long-standing policy approaches as they relate to sanctions, either to respond to or perhaps to take advantage of the new paths forged by the United States. The actions that they have taken are not “unprecedented” per se, as each of these countries or organizations has—at times—embraced policies that are consistent with some of these current actions. But, in aggregate, they describe an overall shift in how the world treats sanctions and trade policy, particularly that as practiced by the United States.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jens Velten
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: The EU adopted Regulation 2019/452 (Regulation) as part of a more robust Common commercial policy to strengthen and defend its interests in a shifting global order. More concretely, the Regulation has two objectives: protecting domestic assets from harmful foreign investor interests, and equipping the EU with leverage to achieve more favourable treatment of EU investors abroad. Therefore, the Regulation provides Member States with an option to adopt foreign direct investment (FDI) screening mechanisms on the grounds of “security or public order”. However, the Regulation misses its objectives. The Regulation’s vague screening ground “security or public order” must be interpreted in accordance with WTO law. A detailed analysis finds that the relevant WTO notions of essential security interests and public order are rather narrow. The Regulation’s screening ground “security or public order” therefore only allows the screening of a few, high-profile cases of FDI. Such a narrow scope undermines the Regulation’s objectives.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, WTO
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Julia Grübler, Oliver Reiter
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Many different approaches have developed for the evaluation of non-tariff measures (NTMs) and free trade agreements (FTAs). Moving on from models using simple dummy variables, today a range of databases can capture different aspects of NTMs and FTAs. Some assess the depth of FTAs by extracting information from legal texts. Other data sources are based on surveys, on complaints by trading partners at the World Trade Organization (WTO) or notifications by companies or countries. This paper uses a gravity model to assess the value added of information on FTAs and NTMs by evaluating ex-post their ability to predict the trade effects of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the first ‘second-generation’ FTA of the EU, applied since 2011. Our results show that, when accounting for information on the FTA components, no extra trade effect is attributable to the EU-South Korea FTA. The message from the evolution of NTMs differs considerably according to the indicator used, but trade predictions are hardly affected. On the aggregate country level, provisions on investments exhibit a particularly strong positive effect, while regulations on intellectual property rights seem to hamper bilateral trade. Most specifications, furthermore, point to a negative effect of differences in the number of technical barriers to trade (TBT) applied and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) against which trading partners issued complaints at the WTO.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, European Union, Free Trade, WTO, Non-Tariff Measures
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Korea
  • Author: Roman Römisch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: This paper develops a simple method to consistently break down world input-output tables to regional input-output tables. They are used to estimate Cohesion Policy-induced demand spillovers in the EU, covering the years 2007-2018. Results indicate that Cohesion spillovers from less developed regions to other regions exceed 40% of their initial EU support in some cases. In addition, spillovers from the more developed regions are equivalent to 24% of their initial EU support. This shows that the existing trade and investment linkages across the EU regions are strong and not only run from less developed to more developed regions but also vice versa. Our results are good news for the net paying regions in the EU. Taking into account capacity growth effects, Cohesion Policy spillovers might well be a multiple of the pure demand spillovers estimated in this paper. Thus, for net paying regions, Cohesion Policy is not only an act of European solidarity but also a rational long-run economic growth policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, European Union, Investment, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia Grübler, Oliver Reiter
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Political debates and economic analyses often focus on single free trade agreements and their potential economic effects on participating trading partners. This study contributes to the literature by shedding light on the significance of trade agreements in the context of countries’ positions in worldwide trade agreement networks, by combining network theory with gravity trade modelling. We illustrate, both numerically and graphically, the evolution of the global web of trade agreements in general, and the network of the European Union specifically, accounting for the geographical and temporal change in the depth of agreements implemented. Gravity estimations for the period 1995-2017 distinguish the direct bilateral effects of trade agreements from indirect effects attributable to the scope of trade networks and countries’ positions therein.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Profit, Models
  • Political Geography: Europe, Austria
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi, Mohammad Sharif Karimi, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Until 2012, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) used its policy rate to stabilise the rial’s exchange rate and, given a persistent current-account surplus, had accumulated sizeable currency reserves. In 2012, however, international sanctions against Iran intensified and the value of the rial halved against the US dollar. Since then Iran has followed a dual interest rate policy, with both a market rate and an official rate applied by the CBI to major imports. In recent years, as sanctions have cut access to foreign reserves, the gap between the two rates has widened substantially. Given these important changes in the exchange rate regime, this paper investigates the impact of the real exchange rate on the trade balance in Iran over the period 1997-2017. For this purpose, an asymmetric model is used, as the speed of the effects of changes in the exchange rate can be asymmetric. The results of the nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag model (NARDL) indicate that this is indeed the case. Results are generally consistent with the Marshall-Lerner condition: an exchange rate depreciation improves the trade balance, whereas an appreciation worsens it. However, the trade balance reacts more strongly in the short run to depreciations of the rial than to appreciations. Although the government could easily improve the trade balance in the short run through currency depreciation, policymakers should in the longer run promote non-oil exports to reduce dependency on oil and to diversify the economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Central Bank, Models
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Eight multilateral rounds of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and international agreements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have contributed significantly to the reduction of tariffs among WTO members. However, over the years legitimate reasons for the imposition of non-tariff measures (NTMs) within regulations have triggered their extensive use. Among these measures, technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures allow countries to impose restrictions on the import of low-quality products suspected of harming domestic consumers’ health, plant life or the environment. Such trade policy instruments may lead to higher standards in the import market, in addition to improving market efficiency through information requirements such as mandatory labelling. This paper analyses two types of regulative and standard-like NTMs – TBTs and SPS measures – and the quality improvement of traded products that is driven by their imposition, which might be a general underlying motive for the adoption of such regulations. Based on a model framework involving both the supply and the demand side of trade and using four types of measures of these NTMs, this paper assesses the impact of TBTs and SPS measures on the quality of traded products. A dummy variable measuring the existence of these NTMs and a count variable indicating their stringency are used in the analysis. Moreover, two other variables indicate flows of NTMs imposed in each year and stocks of these NTMs accumulated over years. The results indicate that TBTs and SPS measures do indeed imply a higher quality of traded products, which is also consistent with the model when NTMs enter as a specific trade cost. Stringent TBTs with more regulations imposed in each year (i.e. flows of count TBTs) have the largest impact on the quality of traded products. However, for SPS measures only the existence of a regulation (i.e. the dummy variable on flows of SPS measures) on a traded product has the strongest impact on its quality.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, WTO, Non-Tariff Measures, GATT
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Leblond
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the margins of the Group of Twenty leaders’ meeting in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29, 2019, Canada and 23 others signed the Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy. This declaration launched the “Osaka Track,” which reinforces the signatories’ commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on “trade-related aspects of electronic commerce.” In this context, unlike its main economic partners (China, the European Union and the United States), Canada has yet to decide its position. The purpose of this paper is thus to help Canada define its position in those negotiations. To do so, it offers a detailed analysis of the e-commerce/digital trade chapters found in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the North American Free Trade Agreement’s replacement, in order to identify the potential constraints that these agreements could impose on the federal government’s ability to regulate data nationally as it seeks to establish a trusting digital environment for consumers and businesses. The analysis leads to the conclusion that Canada’s CPTPP and CUSMA commitments could ultimately negate the effectiveness of future data protection policies that the federal government might want to adopt to create trust in the data-driven economy. As a result, Canada should not follow the United States’ position in the WTO negotiations. Instead, the best thing that Canada could do is to push for a distinct international regime (i.e., separate from the WTO) to govern data and its cross-border flows.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, European Union, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Idris Ademuyiwa, Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Recent events have the potential to reverse the positive macroeconomic performance of the global economy and trigger a slowdown in both global growth and international trade. In particular, the implications of ongoing trade disputes that have undermined trust in the existing multilateral cooperation system and the incentive for countries to align with ongoing global policy coordination efforts. A compelling case for a mutually beneficial resolution of these tensions can be made by emphasizing the interdependence of the Group of Twenty (G20) economies — the G20 being the premier repository of international cooperation in economic and political matters. This study also considers the state of trade globalization, with an emphasis on the performance of the G20. The emergence of geopolitical risks (GPRs), that is, events that heighten tensions between countries and therefore threaten global economic performance, is an attempt to quantify the potential economic impact of the nexus between politics and economics. In the presence of heightened political risks, negative economic effects become more likely. Nevertheless, there is no empirical evidence investigating the links between the real economy, trade, the state of the financial sector, commodity prices and GPRs. Moreover, there is no evidence on these links that has a sample of countries that make up the G20. This paper begins to fill this gap. Relying on descriptive and statistical evidence, the conclusion is drawn that GPRs represent a significant factor that threatens global economic growth and economic performance, in the G20 countries in particular. Ultimately, however, GPRs reflect other factors, including threats stemming from trade tensions and large swings in commodity prices.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Growth, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, South America, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Andrew Walter
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This special report explores the role of emerging-country members in the Basel process, a key aspect of global financial standard setting. It argues that this process has been significantly more politically resilient than adjacent aspects of global economic governance, in part because major emerging countries have perceived continuing “intra-club” benefits from participation within it. Most important among these are learning benefits for key actors within these countries, including incumbent political leaders. Although some emerging countries perceive growing influence over the international financial standard-setting process, many implicitly accept limited influence in return for learning benefits, which are valuable because of the complexity of contemporary financial systems and the sustained policy challenges it creates for advanced and emerging countries alike. The importance of learning benefits also differentiates the Basel process from other international economic organizations in which agenda control and influence over outcomes are more important for emerging-country governments. This helps to explain the relative resilience of the Basel process in the context of continued influence asymmetries and the wider fragmentation of global economic governance. The report also considers some reforms that could further improve the position of emerging countries in the process and bolster its perceived legitimacy among them.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Financial Markets, Global Political Economy, Emerging States
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Izabela Albrycht
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Launched in 2016, the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is designed to build cooperation and interconnectivity between 12 CEE countries through new cross-border infrastructures. The aim of the region’s political leaders is to leverage the economic growth to the extent in which it Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia at the Third 3SI Summit in 2018. She added: “substantial projects, such as energy supply corridors and communications infrastructure, as well as modernization of our economies through an extension of transportation links, will allow for the full integration of Central can contribute to the EU’s greater prosperity and at the same time tighten transatlantic bonds. Let us wish the 3S region yet another good year in which the 3S countries will see the materialisation of hopes”, stated Kolinda Grabar- Europe with the remainder of our continent. It will annul the artificial, but still lingering division between old and new, West and East Europe and it will most definitely contribute to a higher level of prosperity of Europe as a whole.”
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Croatia, Central Europe
  • Author: Ana Muhar Blanquart
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Brexit is a term coined of the words “British exit”, referring to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. First used in 2012 by the founder of the British Influence think-tank Peter Wilding, it became the most frequently used political term in 2016, the year when the British electorate chose to leave the European Union and thus change the political landscape of the United Kingdom and the European Union.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England, North Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Author: Nakgyoon Choi
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Recently, international trade has become regional rather than global. This paper aims to test if deeper regional integration contributes to the organization of global value chains along the regional clusters including Asia, Europe, and America. We estimate the impacts of deep regional integrations on global value chains by region, investigating the implications of mega FTAs for global value chains by scenario. We use not only data on trade in value added but also global value chains participation indexes which reflect the global value chains better than domestic value added in goods and services exports. The estimation results reveal that a deep regional trade agreement has heterogeneous effects on global value chains depending on the regional clusters. In particular, Asia turns out to import more intermediate goods than Europe and America while RTA member countries tend to import more intermediate goods from Europe than Asia and America.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Integration, Economic Policy, Exports
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Global Focus, North America
  • Author: Amat Adarov, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: In the age of globalisation, international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) have become integral elements of cross-country production sharing. In this paper we empirically assess the impact of FDI, as well as capital dynamics and structure, on the formation of global value chains (GVC) and trade in value added at country and sectoral levels based on a database constructed for a sample of European countries over the period 2000-2014. The analysis reveals that inward FDI is especially conducive to the formation of backward linkages while outward FDI facilitates forward GVC participation, especially in high-tech manufacturing sectors. A particularly robust influence of FDI and capital accumulation on GVC integration is identified in the textile and clothing industry. While capital accumulation in general intensifies GVC linkages for most sectors, ICT capital appears to be especially instrumental for backward integration of electrical and transportation equipment sectors.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Trade, Global Value Chains
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Valérie Mignon, Antonia Lopez-Villavicencio
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales (CEPII)
  • Abstract: This paper assesses whether the emergence of new trading partners (i.e., China and Eastern Europe) as suppliers reduces the exchange rate pass-through (ERPT) in Eurozone countries which differ regarding their external exposure. Using bilateral data on import prices at the two-digit sector level, we find that (i) pass-through is complete in many cases, (ii) ERPT from China is higher than from the United States, and (iii) there is no compelling evidence of a generalized link between ERPT and the increasing integration of some emerging markets in European imports. We also show that the launch of the single currency has not provoked a sufficient change in the part of trade exposed to exchange rate fluctuations and, therefore, has not affected the pass-through. Overall, the trend of liberalization in new players' markets has not altered the competitive environment such as to induce exporters of other countries to absorb exchange rate depreciations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Eurozone, Trade, Imports
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Cornelius Adebahr
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe and Iran had begun to invest in a closer commercial relationship just when the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018. Since then, Washington has re-imposed its stringent economic sanctions, targeting Iran’s oil exports as a major source of government revenue but also banning financial transactions with the country. This poses an enormous challenge for the EU, which had intended to use the 2015 agreement as a stepping stone to promote regional cooperation and, ultimately, a more comprehensive relationship with Iran. Paper produced in the framework of the IAI-FEPS project entitled “Europe and Iran in a fast-changing Middle East: Confidence-building measures, security dialogue and regional cooperation”, December 2018.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski, Mark Katz, Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The great-power system has been in constant change since the end of the Cold War. The US became the hegemonic power, and under its shelter, the European Union was able to transform into a European-wide political body. Soon, a group of leading regional powers started to question the universalist aspirations of the Western-led international order. Two members of this club in particular were not satisfied with the role of a regional hegemon and had more global ambitions. China has already become the largest trading nation globally, and Chinese foreign policy has assumed an assertive tone. China has both the potential to challenge US hegemony, as well as the political will to use it. Russia’s project to achieve a global great-power status, on the other hand, is inspired by its historical identity and its alleged humiliation by the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia longs for recognition of its great-power status in particular from the US. This report focuses on relations between China and Russia on the one hand and the US and Russia on the other. It analyses the current developments and future trends in these relationships, as well as their implications for the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Gustaaf Geeraets
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Against a background in which the United States is increasingly drawing into question its commitments to free trade and the global commons, the challenge for the EU and China is to deal with a global governance system that is evolving from a multilateral system centred around the US into a more diffuse system resting on the three strong trading poles: China, the EU and the US.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Vandana Gyanchandani
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Dzianis Melyantsou
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." The new geopolitical environment formed after the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, together with emerging threats and challenges, are pressing both Belarus and the West to revise their policies in the region as well as their relations with each other. In this new context, Belarus is seeking a more balanced foreign policy and, at least towards the Ukrainian crisis, a more neutral stance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, War, Territorial Disputes, Foreign Aid, Sanctions, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Natalie A. Jaresko
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." Once again, the world is grappling with historic challenges, as it did when the Soviet Union fell in 1991, and once more, Ukraine is at the forefront of these challenges. The Kremlin’s attempts to destroy Ukraine’s European aspirations is simply one of Russia's many challenges to the post-World War II international liberal order. The actions of the Kremlin -- be they in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Syria; in the U.S. electoral process; or in the funding of far-right and far-left political parties throughout Europe -- have but one purpose: to destroy the transatlantic partnership and the principles of the post-World War II order and peace. Ukraine is simply one of the battlegrounds, but it is a key because it is in Europe. Unity of the transatlantic partnership and of the democratic nations is critical. Unity of support for the Ukrainian transition process is a serious part of this battle, because Ukraine’s successful democratic, rule-of-law based transformation is key to ensuring a Europe whole, free and at peace.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Territorial Disputes, Economy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Integrated capital markets facilitate risk sharing across countries. Lower home bias in financial investments is an indicator of risk sharing. We highlight that existing indicators of equity home bias in the literature suffer from incomplete coverage because they consider only listed equities. We also consider unlisted equites and show that equity home bias is much higher than previous studies perceived. We also analyse home bias in debt securities holdings, and euro-area bias. We conclude that European Union membership may foster financial integration and reduce information barriers, which sometimes limit cross-country diversification. We calculate home bias indicators for the aggregate of the euro area as if the euro area was a single country and report remarkable similarity between the euro area and the United States in terms of equity home bias, while there is a higher level of debt home bias in the United States than in the euro area as a whole. We develop a new pension fund foreign investment restrictions index to control for the impact of prudential regulations on the ability of institutional investors to diversify geographically across borders. Our panel regression estimates for 25 advanced and emerging countries in 2001-14 provide strong support for the hypothesis that the larger the assets managed by institutional investors (defined as pension funds, insurance companies and investment funds), the smaller the home bias and thereby the greater the scope for risk sharing.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic structure, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yakov Ben-Haim, Maria Demertzis, Jan Willem Van Den End
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper applies the info-gap approach to the unconventional monetary policy of the Eurosystem and so takes into account the fundamental uncertainty on inflation shocks and the transmission mechanism. The outcomes show that a more demanding monetary strategy, in terms of lower tolerance for output and inflation gaps, entails less robustness against uncertainty, particularly if financial variables are taken into account. Augmenting the Taylor rule with a financial variable leads to a smaller loss of robustness than taking into account the effect of financial imbalances on the economy. However, in some situations, the augmented model is more robust than the baseline model. A conclusion from our framework is that including financial imbalances in the monetary policy objective does not necessarily increase policy robustness, and may even decrease it
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert Stehrer, Roman Stöllinger, Sandra Leitner
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Global trade patterns are changing rapidly. Emerging economies are increasing their share of exports overall and intensifying competition in nearly all sectors. Using a gravity-based approach, this report examines the future profile of European Union (EU) world market shares at the aggregate and sectoral level. It further points towards the changing patterns of trade within the EU. Based on the results, some conclusions on EU industrial policy are drawn.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Economic Growth, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Pierre Kohler, Servaas Storm
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Proponents of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) emphasize its prospective economic benefits, with economic growth increasing due to rising trade volumes and investment. Widely cited official projections suggest modest GDP gains after about a decade, varying from between 0.003% to 0.08% in the European Union and between 0.03% to 0.76% in Canada. However, all these quantitative projections stem from the same trade model, which assumes full employment and neutral (if not constant) income distribution in all countries, excluding from the outset any of the major risks of deeper liberalization. This lack of intellectual diversity and of realism shrouding the debate around CETA’s alleged economic benefits calls for an alternative assessment grounded in more realistic modeling premises. In this paper, we provide alternative projections of CETA’s economic effects using the United Nations Global Policy Model (GPM). Allowing for changes in employment and income distribution, we obtain very different results. In contrast to positive outcomes projected with full-employment models, we find CETA will lead to intra-EU trade diversion. More importantly, in the current context of tepid economic growth, competitive pressures induced by CETA will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses. At a minimum, this shows that official studies do not offer a solid basis for an informed decision on CETA.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, European Union, GDP, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniele Ciani, Paolo Finaldi Russo, Valerio Vacca
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper describes the main features of European SMEs’ financial behaviour and the policies recently put in place to support their funding. European SMEs are structurally more leveraged and charged with higher interest rates than large firms. Moreover, the crisis has deeply affected their fund-raising capacity, as banks reduced credit supply while non-bank funding was unavailable to most SMEs. Against this background, EU has focussed its policies on long-term investment and on a more favourable environment for SMEs financing, including through the launch of the Capital Markets Union. At the national level, most governments have provided guarantees and enhanced the role of national development banks. Nevertheless, key issues are still outstanding, such as the funding of innovative firms and the improvement of transparency and of the legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-71-2
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With the One Belt One Road (OBOR), arguably Beijing’s major diplomatic outreach in decades, a process towards greater Sino-European connectivity has been put in place. The implementation of the OBOR in Europe has focused so far on financing infrastructure projects, in particular railways in Southeast Europe and ports in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been complemented by growing monetary linkages between the People’s Bank of China and European central banks through the establishment of currency swap agreements and yuan bank clearing – so-called “offshore renminbi hubs” – with the aim of lowering transaction costs of Chinese investment and bolstering the use of the Chinese currency. While there are undoubtedly great economic opportunities, China’s OBOR initiative also presents the EU with a major political challenge. There is the risk, in fact, that a scramble for Chinese money could further divide EU member states and make it difficult for Brussels to fashion a common position vis-à-vis Beijing. Furthermore, China’s economic penetration into Europe may lead – if not properly managed – to a populist backlash as well as a strain in relations with Washington. All these elements should be taken into consideration by EU policymakers, as China’s OBOR makes inroads into the Old Continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-64-4
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Zhao Minghao
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Council has mandated the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, to draft a Global Strategy by June 2016. Given Europe’s status as a global power, such a strategy must respond to Europe’s own challenges as well as to the new grand strategies of other major players in world politics, like China. To better understand the central tenets of the Chinese leadership’s strategic thinking, two keywords are most important – the “Four Comprehensives” and the “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR). As an initiative mainly focusing on promoting Eurasian integration and reshaping Chinese geo-economic advantages, the OBOR is highly consequential to China’s interactions with Europe and the rest of the world at large in the decades to come. How to take advantage of the OBOR, create new EU-China synergies, and tackle relevant challenges are questions the EU leaders should be attentive to.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-61-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Through its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), the European Union (EU) aims to support the structural transformation of its Eastern and Southern neighbors, promoting democracy, the rule of law, and successful market economies. Ten years after the ENP's launch, it is clear that the policy is not working. Adjusting the ENP to the changing reality on the ground, sharpening its tools, and rebuilding its credibility should be a top priority for the EU's foreign policy leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Many countries are interested in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that Brussels and Washington are negotiating. But the United States and the European Union (EU) began talks without devising a way to involve their main trade partners. This approach, understandable given the complexity of the negotiations, could produce a bilateral agreement that is difficult to multilateralize. To influence the negotiations, third countries interested in eventually joining TTIP should pursue an agenda centered on the accession mechanism, the elimination of nontariff barriers, and dispute settlement.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin, Memduh Karakullukçu
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Even though tensions over Ukraine will inevitably cast a shadow over the bilateral relationship, Russia and Turkey—a NATO member—continue to share a range of important interests. Indeed, there are a number of areas in which the two can work together in their common neighborhood, which stretches from the South Caucasus and the Levant to Central Asia and Afghanistan. A high-level working group on Russian-Turkish regional cooperation has sketched a forward-looking approach for Russia and Turkey in tackling regional challenges.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Erkan Erdogdu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a European Commission initiative aimed at facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe. This paper is devoted to the analysis of Turkey's role in this initiative. Following a summary of the current economic and energy situation in Turkey, the paper presents recent developments in the SGC and an analysis of Turkey's role in the EU's SGC vision. It concludes that although the newly-built infrastructure within the SGC framework will probably serve Azerbaijani and Turkish interests first in their future relations with the EU, rather than the other way round, as had been initially hoped by the EU, it still addresses the EU's basic strategic interests, namely, the diversification of gas supply routes and suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Netherlands
  • Author: Alex Cobham, Petr Janský, Alex Prats
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the role of Switzerland as the leading hub for global commodities trading, in terms of the patterns of prices received by original exporting countries and subsequently by Switzerland and other jurisdictions. We find support for the hypotheses that (i) the average prices for commodity exports from developing countries to Switzerland are lower than those to other jurisdictions; and that (ii) Switzerland declares higher (re-)export prices for those commodities than do other jurisdictions. This pattern implies a potential capital loss for commodity exporting developing countries and we provide a range of estimates of that loss - each of which suggests the scale is substantial (the most conservative is around $8 billion a year) and that the issue merits greater research and policy attention. An important first step would be a Swiss commitment to meet international norms of trade transparency.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Europe, Switzerland
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Kevin Stahler
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Prima facie, competitiveness adjustments in the eurozone, based on unit labor cost developments, appear sensible and in line with what the economic analyst might have predicted and the economic doctor might have ordered. But a broader and arguably better—Balassa-Samuelson-Penn (BSP)—framework for analyzing these adjustments paints a very different picture. Taking advantage of the newly released PPP-based estimates of the International Comparison Program (2011), we identify a causal BSP relationship. We apply this framework to computing more appropriate measures of real competitiveness changes in Europe and other advanced economies in the aftermath of the recent global crises. There has been a deterioration, not improvement, in competitiveness in the periphery countries between 2007 and 2013. Second, the pattern of adjustment within the eurozone has been dramatically perverse, with Germany having improved competitiveness by 9 percent and with Greece's having deteriorated by 9 percent. Third, real competitiveness changes are strongly correlated with nominal exchange rate changes, which suggests the importance of having a flexible (and preferably independent) currency for effecting external adjustments. Fourth, internal devaluation—defined as real competitiveness improvements in excess of nominal exchange rate changes—is possible but seems limited in scope and magnitude. Our results are robust to adjusting the BSP framework to take account of the special circumstances of countries experiencing unemployment. Even if we ignore the BSP effect, the broad pattern of limited and lopsided adjustment in the eurozone remains.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Diego Valiante
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Evidence shows that financial integration in the euro area is retrenching at a quicker pace than outside the union. Home bias persists: Governments compete on funding costs by supporting 'their' banks with massive state aids, which distorts the playing field and feeds the risk-aversion loop. This situation intensifies friction in credit markets, thus hampering the transmission of monetary policies and, potentially, economic growth. This paper discusses the theoretical foundations of a banking union in a common currency area and the legal and economic aspects of EU responses. As a result, two remedies are proposed to deal with moral hazard in a common currency area: a common (unlimited) financial backstop to a privately funded recapitalisation/resolution fund and a blanket prohibition on state aids.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EMS crisis of the 1990 s illustrated the importance of a lack of confidence in price or exchange rate stability, whereas the present crisis illustrates the importance of a lack of confidence in fiscal sustainability. Theoretically the difference between the two should be minor since, in terms of the real return to an investor, the loss of purchasing power can be the same when inflation is unexpectedly high, or when the nominal value of government debt is cut in a formal default. Experience has shown, however, that expropriation via a formal default is much more disruptive than via inflation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Ansgar Belke, Anne Oeking, Ralph Setzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The significant gains in export market shares made in a number of vulnerable euro-area crisis countries have not been accompanied by an appropriate improvement in price competitiveness. This paper argues that, under certain conditions, firms consider export activity as a substitute for serving domestic demand. The strength of the link between domestic demand and exports is dependent on capacity constraints. Our econometric model for six euro-area countries suggests domestic demand pressure and capacity-constraint restrictions as additional variables of a properly specified export equation. As an innovation to the literature, we assess the empirical significance through the logistic and the exponential variant of the non-linear smooth transition regression model. We find that domestic demand developments are relevant for the short-run dynamics of exports in particular during more extreme stages of the business cycle. A strong substitutive relationship between domestic and foreign sales can most clearly be found for Spain, Portugal and Italy, providing evidence of the importance of sunk costs and hysteresis in international trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe, Yuemei Ji
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, in 2012, the government bond spreads began a strong decline. This paper finds that most of this decline is due to the positive market sentiments that the OMT programme has triggered and is not related to underlying fundamentals, such as the debt-to-GDP ratios or the external debt position that have continued to increase in most countries. The authors even argue that the market's euphoria may have gone too far in taking into account the same market fundamentals. They conclude with some thoughts about the future governance of the OMT programme.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014.The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union.The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless, this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Ana-Maria Fuertes, Elena Kalotychou, Orkun Saka
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Paul De Grauwe ' s fragility hypothesis states that member countries of a monetary union such as the eurozone are highly vulnerable to a self – fulfilling mechanism by which the efforts of investors to avoid losses from default can end up triggering the very default they fear. The authors test this hypothesis by applying an eclectic methodology to a time window around Mario Draghi ' s " whatever it takes " (to keep the eurozone on firm footing) pledge on 26 July 2012 . This pledge was soon followed by the announcement of the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program me (the prospective and conditional purchase by the European Central Bank of sovereign bonds of eurozone countries having difficulty issuing debt) . The principal components of eurozone credit default swap spreads validate this choice of time frame . An event study reveals significant pre – announcement contagion emanating from Spain to Italy, Belgium, France and Austria. Furthermore, time – series regression confirms frequent clusters of large shocks affecting the credit default swap spreads of the four eurozone countries but solely during the pre – announcement period. The findings of this report support the fragility hypothesis for the eurozone and endorse the Outright Monetary Transactions programme.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Belgium, Italy
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine, the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues. The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine , the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues . The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiation s currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Joshua Meltzer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade. A traditional understanding of the impact of the Internet on commerce is derived from the dot.com experience of the 1990s, where Internet companies such as Pets.com and Amazon sold goods online. Since then, the impact of the Internet on commerce has grown and changed. Certainly, the ability to sell goods online remains important. However, the key development is that the Internet is no longer only a digital storefront. Instead, the Internet as described in this working paper is a platform for businesses to sell to customers domestically and overseas, and is a business input that increases productivity and the ability of businesses to compete. Understanding the Internet as a platform for trade highlights its broad economic potential. It emphasizes how the commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies, but are now available for businesses in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. Moreover, the global nature of the Internet means that these opportunities are no longer limited to domestic markets, but are embraced wherever Internet access is available.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Iana Dreyer, Gerald Stang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Energy security has climbed the list of EU energy and foreign policy priorities in the last decade. This process was accelerated by the shock of the 2006 and 2009 disruptions in Russian gas supply through Ukraine, and by the new possibilities offered by the Lisbon Treaty. Efforts have been directed at interconnecting national gas and electricity markets, diversifying energy suppliers and promoting rules-based energy trade in the wider European neighbourhood. The EU's primary energy security goals are to reduce the strategic dependence of individual member states on single external suppliers and to ensure that energy markets are liquid, open and functioning according to stable market rules rather than power logics. Yet energy security also needs to be balanced against environmental and economic competitiveness concerns.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: David Bollier
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The structure and character of commerce has changed dramatically since the arrival of the World Wide Web and various digital technologies, particularly mobile phones and large, interconnected databases. Consumers now have much greater market power and choice. Markets can more easily scale, often globally. Co-production and fluid producer/consumer interactions are routine. Transactions themselves have become far cheaper and more easily consummated.
  • Topic: Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Science and Technology, Communications, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Reforms of the financial system in the wake of the global financial crisis are incomplete. Beyond reforms, good judgment is essential in a crisis. Short-termism in finance cannot be completely controlled by regulation and supervision. Financial crises are inevitable but need not be as virulent at the global financial crisis. Central banks will have to rethink their policies and how they interact with other agencies partially responsible for maintaining financial system stability.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Patricia M. Goff
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In October 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada had reached a "political agreement" with the European Union on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The timing of Mr. Harper's statement was not coincidental. Evidence suggests that talks between Canada and the European Union are actually continuing several months after his announcement, if only on technical elements. Nonetheless, it seems the Government of Canada wanted to signal that a successful end to Canada-EU talks was in sight, just as talks between the United States and the European Union were getting under way towards the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The Canadian government did not want to risk a redirection of European energies away from the Canadian negotiation toward their American counterparts.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada
  • Author: John Whalley, Hejing Chen
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: China, in the next few years, faces the prospect of major regional and bilateral trade negotiations possibly including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand and separate negotiations with India, Korea and Japan, potentially the United States and even possibly the European Union. A likely key element in such negotiations, and one already raised by the United States in the TPP negotiations, is that of trade arrangements involving state-owned enterprises (SOEs). China is viewed from outside as having a large SOE sector, and large SOEs are viewed as having a protected monopoly position in domestic Chinese markets.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, India, Asia, Australia, Korea