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Jorge Alvarez, Mr. Ivo Krznar, and Trevor Tombe
This paper assesses the costs of internal trade barriers and proposes policies to improve internal trade. Estimates suggest that complete liberalization of internal trade in goods can increase GDP per capita by about 4 percent and reallocate employment towards provinces that experience large productivity gains from trade. The positive impact highlights the need for federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together to reduce internal trade barriers. There is significant scope to build on the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement to more explicitly identify key trade restrictions, resolve differences, and agree on cooperative solutions.
Mary E. Burfisher, Frederic Lambert, and Mr. Troy D Matheson
The United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed on November 30, 2018 and aims to replace and modernize the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This paper uses a global, multisector, computable-general-equilibrium model to provide an analytical assessment of five key provisions in the new agreement, including tighter rules of origin in the automotive, textiles and apparel sectors, more liberalized agricultural trade, and other trade facilitation measures. The results show that together these provisions would adversely affect trade in the automotive, textiles and apparel sectors, while generating modest aggregate gains in terms of welfare, mostly driven by improved goods market access, with a negligible effect on real GDP. The welfare benefits from USMCA would be greatly enhanced with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico and the elimination of the Canadian and Mexican import surtaxes imposed after the U.S. tariffs were put in place.
Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
The paper employs synthetic control method (SCM) to determine the impact of trade agreements for 64 Latin American country pairs in the period 1989-1996. The results suggest that trade agreements have markedly boosted exports in Latin America, on an average by 76.4 percentage points over ten years. However, there is variation across countries and agreements. The export gains due to trade agreements are lower than the world average comprising 104 country pairs in the period 1983-1995.
Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has reinvigorated research on the ex-ante impact of trade agreements. The results from these ex-ante models are subject to considerable uncertainties, and needs to be complimented by ex-post studies. The paper fills this gap in recent literature by employing synthetic control methods (SCM) – currently extremely popular in micro and macro studies – to understand the impact of trade agreements in the period 1983–1995 for 104 country pairs. The key advantage of using SCM to address selection bias – one of the persisting issues in trade literature – is that it allows the effect of unobserved confounder to vary with time, as opposed to traditional econometric methods that can deal with time-invariant unobserved country characteristics. Using SCM approach, the paper finds that trade agreements can generate substantial gains, on average an increase of exports by 80 percentage points over ten years. The export gains are higher when emerging markets have trade agreements with advanced markets. The paper shows that all the countries in NAFTA have substantially gained due to NAFTA. Finally, there is some evidence that trade agreements can potentially lead to slight import diversion, but not export diversion.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office


The Independent Evaluation Office’s (IEO) Annual Report 2010 highlights that in FY2010, the IEO expended approximately 95 percent of its budgetary resources. The corresponding underspending (about 5 percent of the budget) resulted from several vacancies for significant periods throughout the year. Staffing developments over the course of FY2010 highlighted the costs of high staff turnover for the IEO’s work. In July 2009, the IEO undertook an assessment of recent staffing experience, the main challenges encountered in recruiting and retaining employees, and the aspects of the IEO’s employment policies that contribute to these difficulties.

Kei-Mu Yi, Mr. Rudolfs Bems, and Robert C. Johnson
This paper uses a global input-output framework to quantify US and EU demand spillovers and the elasticity of world trade to GDP during the global recession of 2008-2009. We find that 20-30 percent of the decline in the US and EU demand was borne by foreign countries, with NAFTA, Emerging Europe, and Asia hit hardest. Allowing demand to change in all countries simultaneously, our framework delivers an elasticity of world trade to GDP of nearly 3. Thus, demand alone can account for 70 percent of the trade collapse. Large changes in demand for durables play an important role in driving these results.
Luciana Juvenal and Mr. Rodolphe Blavy
A self-exciting threshold autoregressive model is used to measure transaction costs that may explain relative price differentials and nonlinearities in the behavior of sectoral real exchange rates across Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Interpreting price threshold bands as transactions costs, we find evidence that Mexico still face higher transaction costs than their developed counterparts, even though trade liberalization lowers relative price differentials between countries. The distance between countries and nominal exchange rate volatility are found to be determinants of transaction costs that limit price convergence. Other factors-including weak domestic competition and transportation-are also likely to be important.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Mr. Andrew J Swiston
This paper examines linkages across North America by estimating the size of spillovers from the major regions of the world-the United States, euro area, Japan, and the rest of the world-to Canada and Mexico, and decomposing the impact of these spillovers into trade, commodity price, and financial market channels. For Canada, a one percent shock to U.S. real GDP shifts Canadian real GDP by some ¾ of a percentage point in the same direction- with financial spillovers more important than trade in recent decades. Thus, a large proportion of the reduction in Canadian output volatility since the 1980s can be accounted for by the "Great Moderation" in U.S. growth. Before 1996, domestic volatility in Mexico swamped the contribution of external factors to the business cycle. After 1996, the response of Mexican GDP is 1½ times the size of the U.S. shock-"when the U.S. sneezes, Mexico catches a cold". These spillovers are transmitted through both trade and financial channels.
Anna Maria Mayda and Mr. Chad Steinberg
South-South trade agreements are proliferating: Developing countries signed 70 new agreements between 1990 and 2003. Yet the impact of these agreements is largely unknown. This paper focuses on the static effects of South-South preferential trade agreements stemming from changes in trade patterns. Specifically, it estimates the impact of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) on Uganda's imports between 1994 and 2003. Detailed import and tariff data at the 6-digit harmonized system level are used for more than 1,000 commodities. Based on a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, the paper finds that-in contrast to evidence from aggregate statistics-COMESA's preferential tariff liberalization has not considerably increased Uganda's trade with member countries, on average across sectors. The effect, however, is heterogeneous across sectors. Finally, the paper finds no evidence of trade-diversion effects.
Mr. Clinton R. Shiells, Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo, Mr. Vladimir Klyuev, and Raghuram Rajan
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.