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
    Chad Growth and Diversification: Leveraging Export Diversification to Foster Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-05-30) World Bank
    This report describes the key policies for Chad to successfully leverage export diversification to foster economic growth. After several unsuccessful attempts at diversifying in the 1990s, Chad has deepened its dependence on commodities, mainly relying on oil; which came to replace cotton. However, the experience of other countries, in Africa and other parts of the world, shows that while large scale production of oil resources offers great opportunities, it comes with major shortcomings. Chad’s Vision 2030 is to become an emerging economy, driven by diversified and sustainable sources of growth. The goal is to triple the average GDP per capita at current prices, by increasing it from US$ 730 in 2014 to US$ 2300 in 2030, while drastically reducing the poverty rate from 46.7 percent in 2011 to 8 percent during the same period. Chad’s economy is overly dependent on crude petroleum, which makes it vulnerable to external shocks. Therefore, to achieve this development goal, only an export diversification strategy can foster a larger menu of goods and services than can become growth-accelerating and job-creating activities. Its implementation challenges are formidable, but the country has little choice, as the social unrest following recurrent oil price slumps, its burgeoning youth population and regional security threats may foment more violence in an already fragile and volatile economy and keep investors away. Hence, this report outlines a strategy to achieve this vision centered on the diversification of its non-oil economy (mainly agricultural-based exports) away from natural resource-based commodities.
  • Publication
    CEMAC: Deepening Regional Integration to Advance Growth and Prosperity
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-06-29) World Bank
    The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), which consists of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, is one of the oldest regional groupings in Africa. The main objectives for achieving this are: (i) the creation of a fully functional and effective customs union, (ii) the establishment of a robust system of macroeconomic surveillance, and (iii) the harmonization of sectoral policies and legal frameworks that will create a common market for goods, capital, and services.Despite this ambitious vision, regional integration in the CEMAC zone remains shallow.The oil price shock of 2014-15 severely affected the six CEMAC economies and promoted re-commitment to deepening regional integration.At the regional level, the PREF also aims to: (i) improve the coordination of public financial management (PFM) and fiscal policy; (ii) accelerate regional integration through improvements to the regional economic plan; (iii) improve the business climate; (iv) increase economic diversification; (v) enhance monetary policy transmission mechanisms; and (vi) improve prudential banking supervision.CEMAC is right to focus on reforms to deepening regional integration as a driver of growth.The objective of this Regional Study on CEMAC is to support policy makers in CEMAC in efforts to strengthen regional integration to support economic growth and to reduce the need for economic adjustment. The Regional Study focuses mainly on what can be done at the regional level to support regional integration, macro-stability and long-term growth in the CEMAC area; as such, the Regional Study aims to complement country-specific policies and initiatives to support macro-stabilization, economic development and integration.
  • Publication
    Niger: Leveraging Export Diversification to Foster Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-12-09) World Bank
    Niger’s Vision 2035 acknowledges the country has little choice but to create ‘a competitive anddiversified economy.’ Economic diversification is a cornerstone component of the Economic Orientation Document (EOD) 2016-19 and the PDES 2017-21. The EOD defines Niger’s economic diversification as moving exports away from natural resources and increasing the value-added component of exports as the foundation for its agro-based industrialization and employment creation policies. Hence, an exports diversification strategy is akin to the country’s economic diversification and, not surprisingly, the PDES contains several axes of policy interventions supporting it. However, Niger faces serious structural challenges to diversify into new productive activities. The country is landlocked, exporting costs are high and, given multiple infrastructure and logistics gaps, access to markets is difficult beyond neighboring regional markets. Rapid population growth and low human capital turns into a low skilled population. Volatile economic growth, reliant on a few commodity exports that closely follow the vagaries of weather and boom and busts of international prices, makes hardly obtained poverty gains vulnerable.
  • 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 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
    Trade Matters: New Opportunities for the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC, 2015-01) World Bank
    Trade is essential for Caribbean countries development and poverty reduction. Given their small market size, they are dependent on exports to produce manufactured products at efficient scale. And given their natural amenities, they rely on tourism as a major spur to economic activity. Trade in the Caribbean thus makes an essential contribution to increasing employment and reducing poverty by supporting growth. At the same time, the high dependence on trade also makes Caribbean economies vulnerable to external shocks. For example, the global financial crisis imposed substantial job losses in sectors such as tourism that the poor rely on for employment. This report employs several different, but complementary, empirical approaches to analyzing the impact of this emerging new trade environment on shared prosperity in the Caribbean. These include the following six topics, with each corresponding to an individual chapter: (i) assessment of the Caribbean s performance in reaping the opportunities offered by the new trade environment; (ii) identification of the main determinants of Caribbean countries trade performance; (iii) discussion of the role of innovation and access to keys services in improving the productivity of exporting firms; (iv) exploration of how regional integration and other trade agreements could boost Caribbean trade performance; (v) firm-level examination of the implications of trade for employment; and (vi) identification of which households are involved in international trade and the implications of trade for their socio-economic status.
  • Publication
    Costa Rica : Five Years after CAFTA-DR, Assessing Early Results for the Costa Rican Economy
    (Washington, DC, 2014-06-13) World Bank
    The Dominican Republic - Central America - United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has been fundamental in creating a stable framework for Costa Rica's trade with the United States. For Costa Rica, CAFTA-DR is more than a trade agreement. Besides eliminating tariffs and reducing non-tariff barriers between member countries, CAFTA-DR also introduced major changes to the legal framework of member countries, reducing barriers to services, promoting transparency, and ensuring a secure and predictable environment for investors. This report analyses how CAFTA-DR has impacted the Costa Rican economy in the five years after ratification, both on a macro level and in key specific sectors. The report shows that CAFTA-DR is yielding benefits to the Costa Rican economy, but it is too early to provide a complete account just after five years. The agreement has succeeded to further trade integration between Costa Rica, the US, and other CAFTA-DR countries. Exports to the US began increasing several years before the agreement, but CAFTA-DR accelerated the trend. Costa Rica continues attracting FDI above levels observed in other CAFTA-DR countries, with an increasing share from US investors and a focus on medical devices and business services. Online survey and interviews of high-tech firms in free trade zones found that CAFTA-DR was an important factor in the investment decisions. CAFTA-DR ignited an explosion of changes in the telecom and insurance sectors, bringing new regulatory frameworks, competition, product innovations, and price reductions. Consumers are reaping the benefits of improved telecom and insurance services. But some issues remain for those markets to mature. Finally, the concern regarding the potential negative impact on the Costa Rican Social Security Administration's finances due to the intellectual property rights measures have not been observed.
  • Publication
    Afghanistan Diagnostics Trade Integration Study
    (Washington, DC, 2012-11) World Bank
    Trade enables countries to import ideas and technologies, realize comparative advantages and economies of scale, and foster competition and innovation, which in turn increases productivity and achieves higher sustainable employment and economic growth. Countries open to international trade tend to provide more opportunities to their people, and grow faster. Afghanistan could derive far more benefit from its international trade opportunities than it does at present. This Diagnostics Trade Integration Study (DTIS) report is intended to identify concrete policy actions in three areas of endeavor: lowering the transaction costs of trade, increasing Afghanistan's competitiveness in world markets, and providing an analytical foundation for Afghanistan's national trade strategy. The study examines how to do this, looking not only at trade performance and policy, but also at three sectors with great export potential: agriculture, gemstones and carpets, as well as the investment climate, customs as a driver of trade facilitation, and on promoting infrastructure services. All five chapters in this report provide a detailed and comprehensive analysis of trade issues intended to reduce the transaction costs of trade. Growth in Afghanistan has been strong and volatile because of its heavy reliance on agriculture. Now it faces a transition: prospects of a drawdown of international military forces and a decline in civilian aid by 2014. Security issues and political instability could undermine Afghanistan's Transition. Such threats could harm not only economic growth, but deterioration would repel private-sector investment.