Foreign Trade, FDI, and Capital Flows Study

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    The Impact of the Syrian Conflict on Lebanese Trade
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Calì, Massimiliano ; Harake, Wissam ; Hassan, Fadi ; Struck, Clemens
    The devastating civil war in Syria is arguably one of the major civil conflicts in recent times. The conflict started with protests in March 2011 and soon after escalated to a violent internal war with no end in sight to this date. The conflict has by the end of 2014 caused well in excess of 150,000 fatalities, and 6 million internally displaced people (UN), and led 3 million refugees to move out of the country (UNHCR). Beyond the human tragedy, the conflict has disrupted the functioning of the economy in many ways. It has destroyed infrastructure, prevented children from going to school, closed factories and deterred investments and trade. The economic effects of the war extend beyond the country’s borders affecting also the neighboring countries. In particular trade is one of the main channels through which the effects of the crisis are transmitted to neighboring countries. For example, the demand for goods and services in Syria is likely to have fallen thus affecting the many exporters to Syria in neighboring countries. Moreover, to the extent that Syria has become harder to cross, the war may have made trade through Syria more difficult. At the same time producers in neighboring countries may have replaced Syrian producers in Syria and in other markets as their productive assets in Syria were destroyed. This report examines the effects of the Syrian war on the Lebanese economy via one of the most important channels through which the economic impact of the war occurs, i.e. the trade channel. In doing so, it partly updates and extends the previous economic assessment of World Bank (2013b) carried out last year. Focusing specifically on trade allows us to examine in more depth the trade effects than that report was able to do. Indeed, we go beyond the effects on aggregate and sectoral imports and exports to also examine the effects on exports at firms’ level, comparing the effects in Lebanon with those in other neighboring countries, including Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
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    Deepening Trade Reforms in Syria for Improving Competitiveness and Promoting Non-Oil Exports
    (Washington, DC, 2010-09) World Bank
    Syria made promotion of non-oil exports one of the main objectives of its development strategy to counter the emerging twin balance of payments and fiscal deficits resulting from secular decline of oil production and exports. To realize this objective, the Government has implemented a number of trade policy reforms and took complementary measures in other policy areas during the 10th five-year plan to improve competitiveness of Syrian products in international markets. Non-oil exports responded strongly to the policy improvements. There is now a wide recognition of the need for further reforms to maintain this momentum. This paper tried to assess the achievement so far, identify the remaining gaps in the trade regime, and recommend follow up measures for broadening and deepening the trade reforms. The principal recommendations are presented in the attached policy matrix. The objective of export incentives is to reduce the costs of exported products with policy instruments consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
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    Improving Export Incentives and the Free Zone System in Syria
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-06) Yagci, Fahrettin
    This paper aims to review the export incentives currently implemented in Syria including the free zone system, identify the main weaknesses, and suggest measures to strengthen them. In particular, drawing on the best practices around the world, it explores ways to introduce a duty and tax relief scheme, manufacturing under bond arrangements, and an export processing zone system in Syria's trade regime, and to re-orient the free zones to maximize their contribution to the Syrian economy. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: section two makes a case for development of an effective export incentive system to eliminate the anti-export bias in Syria's trade regime and foster its international competitiveness. Section three provides a summary of the main instruments of export incentives that are widely used worldwide and will be appropriate for Syria to implement. Section four reviews the export incentives currently implemented and identify its weaknesses. Based on the discussions in sections three and four, section five suggests options for Syria to strengthen its export incentive policies. The final section presents the main conclusions and proposes steps for moving forward.