Foreign Trade, FDI, and Capital Flows Study

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  • Publication
    From Political to Economic Awakening in the Arab World : The Path of Economic Integration - Deauville Partnership Report on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment, Volume 1. Overview Report
    (Washington, DC, 2012-05) World Bank
    The forces unleashed by the Arab political awakening have the power to be transformational. One critical parameter of success will be whether the Arab political awakening is accompanied by a concurrent economic awakening. Economic integration through increased trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) is one key means available in the short to medium term to policy makers to put the Partnership countries on a higher path of sustainable economic growth and in a position to decisively tackle the problem of unemployment, especially youth unemployment. To be sure, skepticism abounds in the region over the merits of trade and FDI and the integrity of the private sector in light of "crony capitalism," where the benefits of past policies are perceived to have accrued only to a well-connected few. Leadership is needed in both Partnership countries and Deauville partners to provide a credible long-term vision and explain the mutual benefits of economic integration. One such powerful vision could be the pursuit of a partnership aimed at gradually promoting four key freedoms in the Mediterranean and beyond: the free movement of goods, services, capital, and eventually persons. The implementation of far-reaching domestic reforms in Partnership countries will be critical to effectively reap the growth and employment opportunities offered by greater economic integration and regulatory convergence with the most advanced economies. To further enhance trade and FDI and to achieve the vision of an Arab world more integrated into global markets, the trade and commerce pillar of the Deauville Partnership could therefore focus on four overarching priority areas of reforms and support: (a) improve market access opportunities and market regulations; (b) foster competitiveness, diversification, and employment; (c) facilitate trade and mobilize trade finance and diaspora resources; and (d) promote the inclusiveness, equity, and sustainability of the structural transformation brought about by the process of integration.
  • Publication
    The Service Revolution in South Asia
    (Washington, DC, 2009-06) World Bank
    The story of Hyderabad, the capital of the Indian state Andhra Pradesh, is truly inspiring for late-comers to development. Within two decades, Andhra Pradesh has been catapulted straight from a poor and largely agricultural economy into a major service center. It has transformed itself from a lagging into a leading region. Fuelled by an increase in service exports of 45 times between 1998 and 2008, the number of information technology companies in Hyderabad increased eight times, and employment increased 20 times. Service-led growth has mushroomed in other parts of India and South Asia as well. Indeed, growth in the services sector has enabled South Asia to grow almost as fast as East Asia in this century, with growth of just under seven percent annually between 2000 and 2007. Growth rates in South Asia and East Asia have converged. The two fastest growing regions in the world, however, have very different growth patterns. While East Asia is a story of growth led by manufacturing, South Asia has thrived on service-led growth. The promise of the services revolution is that countries do not need to wait to get started with rapid development. There is a new boat that development late-comers can take. The globalization of service exports provides alternative opportunities for developing countries to find niches, beyond manufacturing, where they can specialize, scale up and achieve explosive growth, just like the industrializes. The core of the argument is that as the number of goods and services produced and traded across the world expand with globalization, the possibilities for all countries to develop based on their comparative advantage expand. That comparative advantage can just as easily be in services as in manufacturing or indeed agriculture.
  • Publication
    The Gambia - From Entrepot to Exporter and Eco-tourism : Diagnostic Trade Integration Study for the Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries
    (Washington, DC, 2007-07) World Bank
    For decades, Gambia has served as a regional entrepot, using the river as a transportation link to the hinterland. Relatively low import taxes, well-functioning port and customs services, and limited administrative barriers reinforced Gambia's position as a trading center. About 80 percent of Gambian merchandise exports consist of re-exports to the sub-region goods imported into Gambia are transported unofficially into Senegal and beyond. Gambian economy and especially its public finances are highly dependent on this trade because imported goods destined for re-export pay the normal import duties. Recently, however, re-exports have declined due to a combination of tensions with Senegal, harmonization of import and sales taxes in the region, and improved port and customs operations in Senegal and other neighboring countries. The current re-export trade is unlikely to be sustainable, calling for a strategy to build growth on a more secure foundation. The report identifies directions for establishing a more sustainable foundation for the country's position as a gateway to the region by improving the transport system and reinforcing its efficient trade facilitation services, while recognizing the limited potential for growth. The study makes detailed recommendations on strengthening and diversifying domestic production of goods and services in the areas of tourism, groundnuts, other agriculture, and fishing, by improving the business climate as well as implementing sector-specific reforms.
  • Publication
    Building Export Competitiveness in Laos : Summary Report
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-11) World Bank
    The basic framework for the background study on building export competitiveness in Laos is based on the National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy (NGPES), which appropriately stresses the need to: (i) improve the business climate by creating a predictable and transparent policy environment; (ii) streamline administrative procedures and regulations that are an obstacle to domestic and foreign private investment; and (iii) strengthen market institutions, including most notably those related to dispute resolution and contract enforcement. This paper focuses on three key priority areas: (a) Strengthening fiscal management is a first priority area. Progress in strengthening fiscal management is likely to require reforms to the broader framework of center-province fiscal relations; (b) Establishing a functioning banking system is a second priority area. Laos needs an efficient banking system to achieve the government's development goals and meet the competitive challenges of regional integration; and (3) Improving competitiveness is a third priority area. Conventional macroeconomic assessments of competitiveness using real effective exchange rates do not suggest any major competitiveness concerns. Other approaches, involving a more detailed assessment of the various elements that make up the investment climate, suggest that competitiveness is a major impediment to attracting investment to Laos. This study addresses the main elements of the reform agenda to strengthen Laos' competitiveness, placing special emphasis on trade facilitation and reforms to the business environment.