Foreign Trade, FDI, and Capital Flows Study

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  • Publication
    The Trade Policy Strategy 2.0 for North Macedonia: Trade Competitiveness Diagnostic and State Aid Effectiveness Report
    (Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank
    For a small and landlocked country like North Macedonia, trade integration is particularly important to sustain the country's economic growth and transformation. The importance of trade became even more visible during a global crisis and in the post-pandemic recovery period. Trade integration has contributed to North Macedonia’s rise to the status of a middle-income country, but its trade strategy is showing signs of fatigue. The lack of trade diversification and economic transformation limits the role of trade in North Macedonia’s growth model. Also, trade openness in services has been weaker than for merchandise, highlighting the untapped potential for trade in services. North Macedonia's growth strategy should aim to diversify the economy and seek export oriented FDI that would have stronger spillover effects on the domestic economy. State aid provided through tax incentives to boost exports and attract FDIs will need to be redesigned to be more effective. A revamped trade strategy is needed that will allow North Macedonia to move further up the GVC ladder and expand its economic diversification through agriculture, agri-business, services, or more complex manufacturing, which will ultimately lead to greater job creation, business survival, and diversification of the economy as a whole. The proposed reform agenda needs to be considered as part of a broader strategy to improve the business climate and attractiveness for investment and raise productivity in the economy. Ultimately, the country’s ability to achieve greater economic diversification and upgrading will depend on a large number of different factors, including competition policy, investment policies, innovation, education policies.
  • Publication
    Russia Integrates: Deepening the Country’s Integration in the Global Economy
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-12-14) World Bank; Emelyanova, Olga; Winkler, Deborah; Gillson, Ian; Muramatsu, Karen; Li, Yue
    Russia’s early development successes resulted from undertaking ambitious structural reforms, a commodity cycle boom, and taking steps to promote greater economic openness, including becoming a member of the WTO in 2012. Between 2000 and 2012, Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose on average by 5.2 percent a year, slightly below the 5.8 percent average for all upper middle-income countries over the same period, but above the 2.9 percent average for the global economy as a whole. Per capita GDP in real terms grew by about 80 percent between 2000 and 2012 (from 14,615 US Dollars to 26,013 US Dollars in purchasing power parity (PPP), 2017 prices). Since 2003, Russia has been the sixth largest economy in the world in PPP terms, moving up from ninth position in 2000. A favorable external environment and strong macroeconomic fundamentals facilitated inclusive growth throughout the 2000s. Structural policies were also key drivers of growth, reflecting the impact of reforms and structural changes launched during this time. Breaking the 2000s decade into early and late periods reveals that structural policies were the key driver of growth in the early 2000s (2000 to 2005). With better terms of trade, the contribution of the external environment to growth improved significantly from 2005 to 2010. Prudent macroeconomic management and booming oil revenues facilitated fiscal surpluses, a reduction in external debt, and a rise in reserves. This helped Russia to respond with strong countercyclical policies to the recession during the 2008–09 Global Financial Crisis, limiting its impact on the economy. Meanwhile, potential growth estimates for Russia show that it peaked before the Global Financial Crisis and has since continued to decline. The estimated potential growth rate — the rate at which the economy can grow when labor and capital are fully employed — was 3.8 percent in 2000–09 and 1.7 percent in 2010–17.2 This deceleration was due to a slowdown of productivity growth and a shrinking potential labor force, rather than a shortfall in capital accumulation. In 2014, the economy suffered from adverse oil price shocks and the imposition of economic sanctions, which led to Russia becoming more insular and less integrated globally. One manifestation of this has been reduced foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows since 2014. Although economic activity in Russia has continued to recover from the 2015-16 recession, potential growth has continued to decline. A weakness in potential growth is not specific to Russia. Potential growth has been adversely affected in both advanced economies, where it was evident even before the Global Financial Crisis, and emerging markets and developing economies, especially since 2010-12. However, a faster-than-average decline in Russia’s potential growth has raised concerns about its medium-term prospects and the risks of stalled convergence in GDP per capita with advanced economy levels.
  • Publication
    Assessing the Impact of WTO Accession on Belarus: A Quantitative Evaluation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-06) World Bank
    As a small and open economy, Belarus' development perspectives are intrinsically linked to its ability to produce and sell goods and services competitively in the global marketplace. While Belarus is an open economy, its trade links are concentrated both in terms of products and markets. Mineral goods –most importantly refined oil and potassium chloride - are the main export product accounting for more than 1/3 of total exports. Non mineral exports, including most importantly machinery, vehicles and transport equipment are mostly exported to Russia and other CIS markets, which account for 74 percent of non-mineral exports while the share of EU countries in Belarus non-mineral exports account for less than 15 percent. With Russia's WTO accession in 2012 competitive pressures on Belarus’ major market for non-mineral exports have further intensified. As Belarus is accelerating its own negotiations with the WTO, understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by the country's exporters is critical to putting in place an effective adaptation strategy that will enhance competitiveness and ensure Belarus can take full advantage of more open market access. The objective of this note is to analyze the economic impacts of Belarus' potential accession to the WTO. The note utilizes a modern computable general equilibrium model of the economy of Belarus to simulate impacts on the economy as a whole and on individual sectors.
  • Publication
    Moldova Trade Study: Overview
    (Washington, DC, 2016-03-03) World Bank
    Despite strong economic growth since 2000, Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in the region. Excessive reliance on remittances, export dependency on a few products, and insufficient domestic job creation make the Moldovan economy highly vulnerable to external conditions. As a small and open economy, Moldova’s development potential is linked to its trade and investment integration strategy. Moldova is situated between two large markets: the European Union (EU), which absorbs more than half of Moldova’s exports, and the Russian Federation. Reducing the economic distance to large regional markets and reaping the benefits of openness is key to overcoming Moldova's structural constraints and spurring export-led growth. The objective of the Moldova Trade Study is to contribute to a better understanding of the factors and challenges underlying Moldova’s foreign trade performance and to identify policy interventions that can enhance the competitiveness of Moldova’s exporting firms and the value added of their exports. . The rest of the note is structured as follows: (ii) section two summarizes the analysis of Moldova’s export performance; (iii) section three focuses on constraints on Moldova’s competitiveness; (iv) in section four, the authors consider alternative trade policy scenarios and their implications for the Moldovan economy; (v) section five synthetizes existing analysis on constraints for agriculture competitiveness and exports, while section six evaluates the performance of free economic zones in Moldova. In the final section, the authors present policy recommendations
  • Publication
    Moldova Trade Study: Note 4. The Performance of Free Economic Zones in Moldova
    (Washington, DC, 2016-03-03) World Bank
    In 1995, Moldova introduced free economic zone (FEZ) legislation with the aim of accelerating socioeconomic development by attracting domestic and foreign investment, promoting exports, and creating employment. Since then, seven free economic zones offering tax and customs benefits have been established. This note assesses the static and dynamic economic benefits of the program in Moldova. The free economic zones have been successful in attracting investment from both domestic and foreign sources. The economic zones have become true export platforms, generating a five-fold increase in exported industrial production from the zones between 2004 and 2014. On average, employment in the economic zones had a robust growth in the last seven years and almost doubled since 2008. Evidence suggests that the economic zones have significantly contributed to the diversification of exports and to the changing structure of the Moldovan economy. The effect of the economic zones on domestic firms appears to be modest, however, and unlikely to contribute to the technological upgrading and sophistication of the Moldovan economy. Free economic zones tend to attract industrial activities requiring intensive use of human resources for certain operations. The economic impact of Moldovan free economic zones is ambiguous. Moldovan legislation provides sound and transparent provisions, but the main issue is how this legislation is implemented. The majority of recommendations are focused on streamlining the implementation process, making it easier for companies to operate. Here are the main recommendations for improving the zones : (i) the importance of fiscal incentives should be downgraded by shifting to targeted services for businesses; (ii) reduce corruption and increase accountability by establishing one-stop-shop procedures and elements; (iii) establish a proper mechanism for monitoring and reporting with the zones residents and administrator; (iv) empower the regulator with additional relevant institutional capacities and capabilities; (v) the role of residents in appointing the administrator should be determinant; and (vi) establish a proper mechanism for compensating residents of the zones for restrictive treatment of the real assets.
  • Publication
    Moldova Trade Study: Note 3. Competitiveness in Moldova’s Agricultural Sector
    (Washington, DC, 2016-03-03) World Bank
    The agriculture and agri-food sector is a substantial driver of Moldova’s international trade and export competitiveness. Enhancing Moldova’s agricultural competitiveness is a key element in improving the access of Moldovan agro-food products to the European Union market and capitalizing on the potential benefits from the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The objective of this note is to examine the competitiveness of Moldova’s agriculture sector, and synthesize relevant research on drivers and recommendations on improving agricultural competitiveness in Moldova, for policy makers. This note examines numerous studies that have been done to date on Moldova’s agriculture sector and its export competitiveness, synthesizes the findings, and presents recommendations. In order for significant exports to the EU to become reality, Moldova’s famers and exporters will need to adhere to the high product quality standards and traceability required in these markets, improve the quality of packaging, and in some cases, adjust the grading specifications. Achieving this requires actions to improve practices during growing and harvest; improve post-harvest handling and infrastructure; and improve the flow of market information and requirements to producers.
  • Publication
    Moldova Trade Study: Note 1. Analysis of Trade Competitiveness
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-01-30) World Bank
    As a small economy, Moldova’s growth and development prospects are closely related to its performance in international and regional markets. In this report the authors have looked at the export performance and competitiveness of the Moldovan economy. This report provides an overview of Moldova’s trade competitiveness. Its objectives are twofold: (i) to present a comprehensive analysis of Moldova’s recent trade performance and (ii) to identify policy measures and interventions that can enhance the competitiveness of Moldova’s export firms and the value added of their exports. The report is divided into two main parts. Part one contains an exports outcome analysis. It assesses export performance along four dimensions that contribute to form a comprehensive picture of the sustainable competitiveness of the export sector, including (i) the level, growth, and market share performance of existing exports (the “intensive margin”); (ii) diversification of products and markets (the “extensive margin”); (iii) the quality and sophistication of exports (the “quality” margin); and (iv) the survival of export flows (the “sustainability margin”). Part two investigates constraints on Moldova’s competitiveness, focusing specifically on a series of supply-side factors, such as the role of backbone and input services and utilities, and access to finance; and the business environment, particularly government regulations affecting trade and governance and institutional quality. The rest of the report is structured as follows: Section two examines overall trends in trade flows, including the growth of exports and imports, the degree of trade openness, and the recent evolution in foreign direct investment flows. In Section three, the authors concentrate on export outcomes, analyzing the sectoral composition, the growth orientation, and degree of diversification of Moldovan exports. The authors also analyze the evolution in the quality and sophistication of exports and the survival of export relationships in different markets and sectors. In the second part of the report, the authors look at productivity dynamics of Moldovan firms in comparative perspective, and then investigate the impact of access to finance, backbone services, trade and customs regulations, and corruption on firm productivity. The authors conclude this report with policy recommendations to improve Moldova's export competitiveness and increase the product and market scope, quality, and sophistication of its export basket.
  • Publication
    Moldova Trade Study: Note 2. Is the DCFTA Good for Moldova? Analysis of Moldova’s Trade Options Using a Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium Model
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-01-30) World Bank
    Moldova’s recent Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), represents an important opportunity, as well as challenges. This analytical document has been commissioned by the World Bank Group to provide insights into potential outcomes of the DCFTA and of other trade options that Moldova has, using a Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium (DCGE) model calibrated to its economy. This paper begins by describing the general trends in economic relations between Moldova and the EU over the past 10 years, with an emphasis on trade, as well as Foreign direct investment (FDI) and labor migration. This section includes some additional facts and details that complement the Trade Competitiveness Diagnostic. In the second section, the paper presents the main elements of the DCFTA and highlights the trade commitments and concessions that the EU and Moldova undertook. It also includes a short review of available literature on the ex-ante or ex post impact assessments of other Association Agreements between the EU and third countries that have been done using CGE models. The third section presents key features of the DCGE and discusses the data used for assembling the Social Accounting Matrix (SAM). Then, the main features of the simulated trade scenarios are presented. Finally, this paper discusses the DCGE simulation results, including the effects of the various scenarios on welfare, trade, and economic activity level. Some distributional impacts are also brought into discussion. The final section concludes and makes several recommendations.
  • Publication
    Evaluation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union
    (Washington, DC, 2014-03-28) World Bank
    The implementation of the customs union (CU) in 1995 was the culmination of thirty-two years of association between the European Union (EU) and Turkey and was expected by Turkey to be the first step in the EU accession process. The CU has been a major instrument of integration for the Turkish economy into both European and global markets. The CU covers trade in just industrial goods (including the industrial components of processed agricultural products) and excludes primary agriculture, services, and public procurement but has proved to be a powerful force of regulatory convergence. The evaluation s objectives are to assess the impacts of the CU and to make forward looking, solution-orientated recommendations for its improvement with an emphasis on the economics behind the various trade irritants and options for dealing with problems related to asymmetries as well as examining the case for widening. The evaluation provides quantitative and qualitative estimates of the effects of the CU and demonstrates that the trade agreement has been highly beneficial for both Turkey and the EU. The evaluation consists of two main parts: (i) an evaluation of the impact of the CU on trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), and more broadly, welfare in Turkey through the effects it has had on trade policy, eliminating the need for rules of origin (ROOs) on preferential trade with the EU and implementing the acquis in areas covered by the CU; and (ii) a review of current limitations of the existing trade arrangement, potential gains in dealing with these as well as modalities for reform. The evaluation has six sections. Section one gives introduction. Section two reviews trade and investment outcomes between the EU and Turkey. Section three examines the effects the CU has had on the trade policy environment for Turkey. Section four provides an overview of EU-Turkey trade relations in terms of Turkey s harmonization with EU regulations and use of trade defense instruments. The fifth section examines the potential impacts of widening the trade arrangement to cover new areas in agriculture and services and makes proposals for the modalities that can be used to include these as part of an agreement including in the context of full accession. Section six presents conclusions and recommendations.
  • Publication
    Kazakhstan: Taking Advantage of Trade and Openness for Development
    (Washington, DC, 2012-07-10) World Bank
    This report is structured as follows. Chapter one analyzes the performance of Kazakhstan s trade. Chapter two presents an overview of recent developments in Kazakhstan regional and international trade integration. Chapter three examines in detail key issues related to market access, focusing on non-tariff measures and trade facilitation and logistics. Chapter four examines the services sector and offers a roadmap for actions to enhance its competitiveness. Chapter five addresses building institutional capacity for the trade and competitiveness agenda. The report s recommendations are summarized in the following table. In order of the four main messages of the report, they cover balancing regional and international integration efforts, measures to improve access to inputs and export markets by reducing non-tariff barriers and through trade facilitation measures, raising the quality and efficiency of the services sector, and strengthening institutional capacity to implement an effective trade policy and competitiveness agenda.