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  • Author: Pascal Blickle, Angela Min Yi Hou, Laura Störi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: This TradeLab project analyses the domestic legislation of 14 developing countries in implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The present memo summarises the main findings across the 14 Parties. This memo finds that most assessed Parties have implemented the CITES' core requirements, and recommendations provided in the resolutions of the Conference of the Parties (CoP). The project identifies a minority of three African countries for which the CITES Secretariat may wish to review their Category 1 status. These Parties fall short of all or several of the following elements: they failed to appropriately designate Management and Scientific Authorities by law, circumscribe the Authorities' tasks and responsibilities, or – by exclusively regulating native species – appear not to comprehensively cover species listed in the Convention's three Appendices.
  • Topic: Environment, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Trade, Ecology, Biology
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Liz Thomas, Jarrod Suda, Gaia Grasselli
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Since the 1990s, more free trade agreements have come to include social clauses, which make reference to domestic and international labour standards. As this international legal web continues to grow, so too will the questions and concerns from employers and businesses. This Tradelab report, for the International Organisation of Employers, provides practical guidance for those employers and businesses. It does so by taking the diverse array of actors, the tensions within, and the opportunities set forth by free trade agreements and elaborating upon them using three case studies.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues, Free Trade, Trade, International Business, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Happersberger, Eleanor Mateo, Selcukhan Ünekbas
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Fossil fuel subsidies have negative consequences on the climate change, public budgets and and the transition to an environmentally friendly economy. Nevertheless, governments do not keep up with their commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies but misallocate again COVID-19 recovery funds in fossil fuel subsidies. This article provides an analysis of the current obstacles for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and the potential of the WTO to advance a reform on fossil fuel subsidies. It argues that the WTO can contribute to a fossil fuel subsidies reform by its technical expertise in regulating subsidies, by its broad membership and by its institutional setting. Under the current framework of the ASCM, WTO member can use existing mechanisms, such as the TPRM, to increase transparency in the short term and facilitate discussions on the scope of subsidies while mitigating impacts on vulnerable groups or sectors. This would provide the ground for governments to work towards a new and ambitious agreement to stop producer fossil fuels subsidies and phase out consumer fossil fuels subsidies in the mid-to-long-term. However, the phase out of consumer subsidies needs to be carefully designed and embedded, to avoid unintended consequences on energy access and vulnerable households.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Trade, Fossil Fuels, COVID-19, WTO, Ecology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mahdi Ghodsi
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: Regulative non-tariff measures (NTMs), such as technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, have frequently been imposed to regulate the quality of imported goods when the market fails to address some issues of concern regarding harmful products with low standards. The impact of NTMs on trade values and trade volumes has been extensively modelled and analysed in the literature, while their quality impact has usually been studied using the unit values of imports. In this paper a monopolistic competition framework is presented, in which firms choose both the quality and the price of their exports subject to the compliance costs of NTMs behind the border and a fixed cost of technological change. Using the solutions of this model including NTMs, the quality of products at the six-digit level of the harmonised system (HS) traded globally and bilaterally during the period 1996–2017 is estimated. Using these estimates, the impacts of TBTs and SPS measures on trade values, volume, unit value and quality are estimated. On average and across all global bilateral trade, TBTs restrict imports while improving quality significantly. SPS measures stimulate trade and improve the average imported quality. Then, by estimating the importer-specific impact of NTMs on traded value, quantity, unit value, quality, and quality-adjusted price for each product, the ‘NTM Black Box’ is opened and analysed. This provides evidence of whether the quality of traded goods to an importing country has been upgraded despite the trade restrictiveness of NTMs.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Non-Tariff Measures
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Henig
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: In the last 25 years global value chains have come to dominate global trade in a way surprisingly little discussed or understood. To meet the policy challenges of today and the future we need to understand the key characteristics of this new global trade and how they came about. The OECD estimate around 70% of total trade takes place in global value chains. Using their definition as where “the different stages of the production process are located across different countries”, and considering both goods and services inputs, this may be an understatement. The example most commonly used is the automotive sector, with 30,000 parts and associated services like satellite navigation going into one car. However there are many others. Modern primary commodity production is optimised by technology developed in other countries, diverse services and goods are frequently combined to create new product offerings, and most international business to consumer transactions are facilitated by leading global platforms. Positively this new globalization has provided consumers with an unprecedented choice of products at affordable prices. More challengingly it has seen governments struggle with the question of how they can best influence modern trade, amid signs of a backlash and simple demands for ‘more domestic manufacturing’. The popular global narrative that feeds such demands is one that has a traditional view of trade as a set of simple primary or manufactured goods transactions. Policymakers must move on from this narrative, making their choices, and explaining them clearly, on the basis of global value chains.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Trade, Global Value Chains
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eve Lee
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) have rapidly evolved from a sci-fi concept to a plausible alternative to cash that is being studied by central banks all over the world. According to a Belfer Center tracker, over 50 central banks have pursued or are engaging in CBDC work as of August 2020. However, while 10 central banks have already piloted or announced plans to pilot a CBDC in the near term, most are in the early stages of research and experimentation. In this brief, we outline the common motivations driving central bank work on CBDCs. We then explore CBDCs’ potential impacts on financial inclusion, a primary motivation in developing and emerging markets that has also gained significant traction in developed economies during the COVID-19 related global recession. We conclude that for CBDCs to achieve its financial inclusion goals, more technical advancement in offline adaptability and policy deliberations around issues of identity and traceability are needed.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dmitry Grozoubinski
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: In the midst of a pandemic and escalating global protectionism, the WTO's paralysed dispute settlement system, largely immobilised negotiations, and chronically underutilised monitoring and compliance function, are groaning under the weight of trade tensions, unilateralism, and neglect. Technical work in Geneva is part of the solution, but is insufficient on its own to resolve the Organization’s short- and long-term problems. Political leaders who still believe in the wisdom of predictable, rules-based trade must build coalitions to expand that structure, while forcing the difficult conversations about what a WTO acceptable to the major powers looks like, and investing in the painstaking rebuilding of business and civil society engagement with trade policy.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, COVID-19, Financial Stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Giuliano Garavini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Oil markets are facing a perfect storm. The scissors of supply and demand are moving against one another, generating increasing pain on the oil industry and the political and financial stability of oil-producing countries. Global oil demand is dropping due to the recession induced by the COVID-19 shut down of economic activity and transport in the most industrialized countries. Goldman Sachs predicts that global demand could drop from 100 million barrels per day (mdb) in 2019 to nearly 80 mdb in 2020.1 If confirmed, this would be single biggest demand shock since petroleum started its race to become the most important energy source in the world.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Oil, Global Markets, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Global Focus
  • Author: Chad P. Bown, Aksel Erbahar, Maurizio Zanardi
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines how trade protection is affected by changes in the value-added content of production arising through global value chains (GVCs). Exploiting a new set of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules adopted in 1995 that impose an exogenously timed requirement for countries to reevaluate their previously imposed trade protection, the authors adopt an instrumental variables strategy and identify the causal effect of GVC integration on the likelihood that a trade barrier is removed. Using a newly constructed dataset of protection removal decisions involving 10 countries, 41 trading partners, and 18 industries over 1995–2013, they find that bilateral industry-specific domestic value-added growth in foreign production significantly raises the probability of removing a duty. The results are not limited to imports from China but are only found for the protection decisions of high-income countries. Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that rapid GVC growth in the 2000s freed almost a third of the trade flows subject to the most common temporary restrictions (i.e., antidumping) applied by high-income countries in 2006.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Markets, Finance, Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Peter Draper
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: International trade cooperation has been under growing strains since at least the turn of the twenty-first century. Forces promoting global trade integration were in the ascendancy for most of the first decade. They were anchored on com- plex production specialisation mediated through cross-border value chains, underpinned by con- sumer demand for a variety of cost-effective prod- ucts, and cemented through regional and bilateral trade agreements. However, since 2008, succes- sive shocks unleashed cumulative disintegrative forces that counter-balanced and now threaten to overwhelm the forces of integration. These com- prise rising nationalism, associated desires for sovereignty, growing concerns over uneven distri- bution of the benefits of economic globalisation, shifting international power balances and associ- ated security concerns. These disintegrative forces threaten to unravel the World Trade Organization (WTO). COVID-19 mostly accelerates this trajec- tory, rendering WTO reform and restoration to its central role at the apex of the global trading sys- tem increasingly challenging. But all is not lost, as the forces of global trade integration have not dissipated and every crisis also presents reform opportunities.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus