This paper summarizes recent developments in the Doha Round negotiations, and aid for trade. As requested by the Development Committee last September, it reviews existing mechanisms for cross-country and regional aid for trade needs. It proposes possible options to overcome the coordination and capacity problems affecting regional cooperation.
In recent years, African policymakers have increasingly resorted to regional trade arrangements (RTAs) as a substitute for broad-based trade liberalization. This trend has long-term implications for the effectiveness of trade policy as a tool for poverty reduction and growth. This paper examines the record of RTAs in promoting trade and investment. It also explores policy measures that may help improve RTAs' performance.
The paper analyses the potential trade impact of the forthcoming East African Community (EAC) customs union. It examines the trade linkages among the member countries of the EAC and the extent to which the introduction of the EAC common external tariff will liberalize their trade regimes. To gauge the potential trade impact of the formation of the customs union, simulations are conducted for Kenya. The empirical results indicate that the customs union will have a beneficial effect on Kenya's trade. The paper does not draw any conclusions on the potential welfare impact of the customs union. Finally, factors other than enhanced trade might influence Kenyan policymakers to pursue regional integration, and these include regional cooperation in "behind the border" reforms and the provision of public goods.
Regional trade arrangements (RTAs) in Africa have been ineffective in promoting trade and foreign direct investment. Relatively high external trade barriers and low resource complementarity between member countries limit both intra- and extraregional trade. Small market size, poor transport facilities and high trading costs make it difficult for African countries to reap the potential benefits of RTAs. To increase regional trade and investment, African countries need to undertake more broad-based liberalization and streamline existing RTAs, supported by improvements in infrastructure and trade facilitation. Early action to strengthen the domestic revenue base would help address concerns over revenue losses from trade liberalization.
Regional integration has been seen in Africa as a means of encouraging trade and securing economies of scale. This paper examines in detail the prospects and challenges for trade expansion in the two most prominent arrangements in eastern and southern Africa: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It finds that possibilities of growth in intraregional trade may be limited, but that the two arrangements offer opportunities for member countries to gain policy credibility for trade reforms and tariff liberalization and to address structural weaknesses. In this regard, the negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union can also have a significant impact.
Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa, Mr. Alexander Lehmann, and Mr. Jaroslaw Wieczorek
This paper reviews the characteristics of international trade in services and of the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) framework, which was established to regulate it. Further liberalization of services trade in developing countries, as currently envisaged in the context of the WTO Doha Development Agenda, holds a number of potential benefits, such as underpinning the liberalization of goods trade, but it is also being resisted due to its potential adjustment costs. Two implications for IMF activities are examined: coherence among the three principal international economic institutions and sequencing with macroeconomic stabilization and regulatory reforms.
Mr. Reint Gropp, Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, and Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky
The apparent contradiction between trade liberalization and continuing high trade tax revenue raises the important question of how, precisely, the one affects the other. Although policymakers generally recognize the long-term benefits of trade liberalization, some have argued for at least a slower pace, in part because of revenue concerns. This paper seeks to address these issues in three complimentary ways: through an overview of the factors that may have a bearing on the question, through a review of trends in trade tax revenue both globally and in selected countries, and through econometric analysis.
This paper argues that natural resource abundance creates opportunities for rent-seeking behavior and is an important factor in determining a country’s level of corruption. In a simple growth model, we illustrate the interrelationships between natural resources, corruption, and economic growth, and discuss potential anti-corruption policies. We show that the extent of corruption depends on natural resource abundance, government policies, and the concentration of bureaucratic power. Furthermore, the growth effects of natural resource discoveries and anticorruption policies crucially depend on the economy’s state of development. We empirically corroborate the model’s implications in a cross-country framework with both corruption and growth endogenized.
Sub-Saharan Africa needs much faster economic growth and more effective economic, financial, and social policies if it is to make up for lost ground and reduce the number of people living in abject poverty. Edited by Laura Wallace, this volume presents the proceedings of a May 1998 seminar in Paris, organized jointly by the IMF and the Japanese Ministry of Finance, on ways to accelerate Africa's growth in our increasingly globalized world. Senior African and Asian government officials, representatives from multicultural institutions, donors, academics, and private sector participants gathered to discuss how to improve the private investment environment in African countries and take advantage of globalization's benefits while minimizing its risks, and how to strengthen the contribution of government in areas of capacity building, good governance, effective public resource management, and improved quality and composition of government spending.
This paper examines the relationship between trade liberalization and the budget deficit, which depends on the specifics of country’s economic structure, and the trade regime which is being liberalized. It relates some popular but incomplete approaches to assessing this issue (such as analysis of the foreign exchange budget) to a more comprehensive approach using an applied general equilibrium model. The argument is illustrated using data from the most recent of a sequence of abortive planned liberalizations in Kenya, as well as a number of stylized illustrations. The conclusions are not only that liberalization may be budget enhancing, but that in certain circumstances it may be strongly so.