Trade, Investment and Competitiveness
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COVID-19-Era Trade Policy Interventions Affecting Medical Goods: Form, Frequency, Duration, and Scale(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-03) Evenett, Simon J.Drawing upon the findings of several trade policy surveillance initiatives, an account is presented here of government resort to trade restrictions and reforms affecting medical goods during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some nations mustered effective public health responses early in the pandemic without resorting to trade restrictions. Some other governments quickly reversed export restrictions once their adverse side effects became evident. However, another group of nations have removed COVID-19 trade restrictions very slowly, if at all. These findings challenge the assumption that existing multilateral rules effectively regulate the crisis-era application of general exceptions to non-discrimination norms for goods trade. While the logic of those exceptions is to prevent multilateral trade obligations impeding public health responses, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that these flawed rules on exceptions have attenuated the contribution of cross-border trade to pandemic response, in particular in those developing countries that source much medical goods from abroad.
Approaches to Integrated Inspections Reforms: Based on Selected Case Studies(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-01-24) World BankSupervision of business activities through an inspections system is a key component of a government’s regulatory apparatus. Several jurisdictions have attempted to address these challenges by further standardizing the approaches, resources, practices, and tools used by two or more inspectorates, a process also known as integration. This note offers insights for reformers and practitioners based on lessons from selected case studies, with a focus on in-land inspections systems integrated in the past decade and discusses some recent developments in inspection reform. A previous World Bank Group (WBG) publication identified five integration models. This study, while confirming that these models remain relevant, examines integration efforts using the five key areas of inspection reform as a lens: institutional frameworks, legal instruments, strategy planning and operational tools, competences, and e-Inspections.
Modalities and Determinants of Trade in Health Services(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022) Chanda, RupaTrade in health services is part of the larger phenomenon of globalization of services, wherein services have become increasingly tradeable through different modes of delivery and are playing a growing role in the growth and development process of economies. The provision of health services forms the backbone of any health system. Accessibility, quality, capacity, organization, availability of human and physical resources, and equity in the provision of health services are essential for a health care system to deliver the desired health and related sustainable development outcomes. Section 2 provides an overview of trade in health services, outlining its defining characteristics and features. Section 3 discusses the positive and negative effects of trade in health services and the associated welfare and health security implications. Section 4 delves into the factors that drive cross-border demand for, and supply of health services and outlines the barriers that constrain this trade. Section 5 concludes by outlining a conceptual framework for the determinants of trade in health services and provides insights the ways in which countries can leverage their natural advantages and shape the enabling policy and regulatory environment to participate in the growing global and regional opportunities for trade in health services, while keeping in mind the need to balance efficiency with equity.
Global Supply Chain Disruptions: Competition Policy Implications(Washington, DC, 2022) World BankThis note complements prior World Bank work analyzing the technical drivers of supply chain disruptions from 2021 onwards. The focus of this note is to shed light on the role of market structure and dynamics by: (a) analyzing how market dynamics and industry structure may have contributed to the current situation; (b) outlining implications for value chains in developing countries; and (c) suggesting further policy and research priorities. On the demand side unexpected demand spikes in the United States have created disruptions due to the sheer volume of logistics throughput needed and the sudden, unexpected rebound in demand that is contributing to the “bullwhip effect.” On the supply side, capacity constraints with respect to port-hinterland connections have been the main bottleneck rather than maritime shipping per se. However, this note raises the concern that industry structure and alliance practices within the maritime shipping, shipbuilding, and container manufacturing sectors may be contributing to the extreme reaction of shipping prices. In the short term, policy makers in developing countries can help mitigate the effects of rising shipping costs and decreasing service levels by extending the timeframes of trade finance and removing barriers to overland trade. Although there is little that governments outside of China, Europe, and the United States can do to directly solve the process bottlenecks, market characteristics suggest that the global logistics industry may be susceptible to collusive outcomes, which exacerbate price spikes. Thus, governments could pay closer attention to potential anticompetitive behavior, especially in maritime shipping and hinterland logistics. In the medium to long term, policy makers, regulators, and researchers should more carefully consider efficiency–resilience tradeoffs in the global logistics industry. Key topics to explore include investigations into potential anticompetitive behavior by shipping lines and increased scrutiny over mergers and alliance practices among logistics service providers and the supplying manufacturing industries. Public-private and private initiatives to facilitate data sharing may also help improve forecasting, which could help mitigate the effects of demand volatility. This note was predominantly prepared before the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, which started in February 2022. In the short term, the war is likely to exacerbate the congestion at European ports and disrupt Asia-Europe rail links, potentially leading to higher shipping prices. In the long term, it remains to be seen whether decreases in global demand due to the war will lower shipping demand and prices. Nevertheless, the long-term structural constraints to competition in the sector highlighted in this note remain the same overall.