International trade

Learning about global value chains by looking beyond official trade data: Part 2

Zhi Wang, Shang-Jin Wei, Kunfu Zhu, 16 April 2014

One common measure of trade linked international production networks is the so-called VAX ratio, i.e. the ratio of value-added exports to gross exports. This column argues that this measure is not well-behaved at the sector, bilateral, or bilateral sector level, and does not capture important features of international production sharing. A new gross trade accounting framework is proposed that can better track countries’ movements up and down global value chains.

Making global value chains work for developing nations

Demián Dalle, Verónica Fossati, Federico Lavopa, 13 April 2014

Discussions of global value chains (GVCs) have permeated international organisations’ research and policy agendas. This column presents a critical view on some of the recent policy recommendations that urge for as much liberalisation of trade in goods and services as possible. These proposals cannot be automatically applied to developing countries without some type of government intervention.

Learning about global value chains by looking beyond official trade data: Part 1

Zhi Wang, Shang-Jin Wei, Kunfu Zhu, 7 April 2014

The growth of international trade in intermediate inputs means that standard trade statistics can give a misleading picture of the real patterns of production behind world trade. This column introduces an accounting framework that decomposes traditional trade flows into components that better reflect the underlying location of the value addition linked to exports.

Global value chains in the current trade slowdown

Michael J Ferrantino, Daria Taglioni, 6 April 2014

Recent growth in trade has decelerated significantly since its sharp recovery in 2010. This column discusses the role of global value chains in international trade and their contribution to the trade slowdown. Trade in complex products organised by global value chains, in particular motor vehicles, has been more sensitive to global downturn than has trade in simple products. Thus, either focusing on simpler products less dependent on global value chains, or diversifying the export folios, could be useful in reducing the risk of a slowdown in global merchandise.

The relaunching of negotiations on environmental goods

Jaime de Melo, Mariana Vijil, 1 April 2014

The Bali agreement last December has given new hope that the WTO is not dead. The recent announcement that negotiations on the reductions of tariffs on environmental goods are to resume gives hope that the triple-win outcome of the Doha round – for trade, for development and for the environment – might materialise, at least partly. Or does it? This column argues that unless the field of negotiations is widened, the initiative will not help much.

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