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Mr. Augusto A Perez Azcarraga, Mr. Tadatsugu Matsudaira, Mr. Gilles Montagnat-Rentier, Mr. Janos Nagy, and Mr. R. James Clark


Customs administrations around the world face new challenges: an increasing volume of international trade, a revolution in new technologies, and fundamental changes in business models. The benefits of a well-performing customs administration are clear, as is the need to develop efficient, effective, fair, and modern customs administrations. Customs Matters analyzes the many changes and challenges customs administrations face and pro-poses ways to address them. By offering a cross-sectional view of the main aspects of customs ad-ministration, the book guides policymakers and customs officials as they evaluate the current state of their customs system with a view to developing, reinforcing, or relaunching their own roadmaps for customs modernization.

Camila Casas, Mr. Federico J Diez, Ms. Gita Gopinath, and Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas
Most trade is invoiced in very few currencies. Despite this, the Mundell-Fleming benchmark and its variants focus on pricing in the producer’s currency or in local currency. We model instead a ‘dominant currency paradigm’ for small open economies characterized by three features: pricing in a dominant currency; pricing complementarities, and imported input use in production. Under this paradigm: (a) the terms-of-trade is stable; (b) dominant currency exchange rate pass-through into export and import prices is high regardless of destination or origin of goods; (c) exchange rate pass-through of non-dominant currencies is small; (d) expenditure switching occurs mostly via imports, driven by the dollar exchange rate while exports respond weakly, if at all; (e) strengthening of the dominant currency relative to non-dominant ones can negatively impact global trade; (f) optimal monetary policy targets deviations from the law of one price arising from dominant currency fluctuations, in addition to the inflation and output gap. Using data from Colombia we document strong support for the dominant currency paradigm.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses Panama’s business model founded on its ability to attract international financial, business, and transportation services. Panama has had exceptional growth over recent decades. A growth diagnostic exercise suggests that Panama is well placed to maintain this business model. Higher-quality education, stronger governance, and less bureaucracy will further strengthen Panama’s comparative advantage. Additional analysis suggests that investment will continue to support growth, while the logistics and tourism sectors promise to build further on Panama’s comparative advantage.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Aliona Cebotari, and Andras Komaromi
We revisit the relationship between international trade, economic growth and inequality with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. The paper combines two approaches: First, we employ a cross-country panel framework to analyze the macroeconomic effects of international trade on economic growth and inequality considering the strength of trade connections as well as characteristics of countries’ export markets and products. Second, we consider event studies of past episodes of trade liberalization to extract general lessons on the impact of trade liberalization on economic growth and its structure and inequality. Both approaches consistently point to two broad messages: First, trade openness and connectivity to the center of the trade network has substantial macroeconomic benefits. Second, we do not find a statistically significant or economically sizable direct impact of trade on overall income inequality.
Luc Eyraud, Ms. Diva Singh, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton
The timing is ripe to pursue greater regional financial integration in Latin America given the withdrawal of some global banks from the region and the weakening of growth prospects. Important initiatives are ongoing to foster financial integration. Failure to capitalize on this would represent a significant missed opportunity. This paper examines the scope for further global and regional financial integration in Latin America, based on economic fundamentals and comparisons to other emerging regions, and quantifies the potential macroeconomic gains that such integration could bring. The analysis suggests that closing the financial integration gap could boost GDP growth be ¼ - ¾ percentage point in these countries, on average.
Mr. Andrew J Swiston and Mr. Luis D Barrot
This paper studies the potential for the export sector to play a more important role in promoting growth in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (CAPDR) through deeper intra-regional and global trade integration. CAPDR countries have enacted many free trade agreements and other regional integration initiatives in recent years, but this paper finds that their exports remain below the norm for countries of their size. Several indexes of outward orientation are constructed and suggest that the breadth of geographic trading relationships, depth of integration into global production chains, and degree of technological sophistication of exports in CAPDR are less conducive to higher exports and growth than in fast-growing, export-oriented economies. To boost exports and growth, CAPDR should implement policies to facilitate economic integration, particularly building a customs union, harmonizing trade rules, improving logistics and infrastructure, and enhancing regional cordination.
Mr. Dominique Desruelle and Mr. Alfred Schipke
América Central ha logrado importantes avances en los últimos años al impulsar reformas económicas y profundizar la integración regional y mundial. Como resultado de estos esfuerzos, la región ha logrado aumentar el crecimiento y las entradas de capitales y reducir en alguna medida las tasas de pobreza. No obstante, América Central se mantiene vulnerable a los shocks negativos y continúa atravesando una situación de pobreza generalizada. Si bien hoy en día América Central se encuentra en mejores condiciones para afrontar esos shocks, las turbulencias actuales en los mercados financieros internacionales podrían poner en riesgo los avances logrados con tanto esfuerzo en los últimos años. Frente a estos retos, las autoridades están siguiendo de cerca los acontecimientos y tomando medidas precautorias, pero también deben seguir realizando reformas que promuevan la productividad y aplicando medidas dirigidas a reducir la desigualdad del ingreso y la pobreza.
Mr. Dominique Desruelle and Mr. Alfred Schipke
Central America has made substantial progress in recent years in moving economic reforms forward and deepening regional and global integration. As result of these efforts, the region has experienced higher growth, increased capital inflows, and some reductions in poverty rates. But Central America remains vulnerable to adverse shocks and continues to face widespread poverty. While today Central America is in better condition to face such shocks, the current turmoil in global financial markets and U.S. growth slowdown could put at risk the hard-won gains of recent years. Faced with these challenges, the authorities are monitoring developments closely and are taking precautionary measures, but they also need to continue implementing productivity-enhancing reforms and measures aimed at reducing income inequality and poverty.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Panama reports that the administration is developing a strategy to enhance growth and competitiveness in the Panamanian economy. Corruption is perceived as a widespread phenomenon that has affected both private and public sectors in Panama at various levels of decision making. Even though Panama currently attracts substantial foreign direct investment, corruption may prove an obstacle to a medium-term growth strategy based on foreign investment. One important component of Panama's medium-term strategy is the prospect of a free-trade agreement with the United States.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper examines recent economic developments and medium-term outlook for Liberia. This paper focuses on economic developments during 2003 and 2004 and the medium-term challenges of reconstruction. The paper explores the pros and cons of adopting full (de jure) dollarization in Liberia. It reviews the theoretical arguments for and against adopting dollarization and the associated empirical evidence. The choices of monetary and exchange rate regimes made by other post-conflict countries are presented. The paper also assesses whether Liberia, in its current post-conflict situation, could benefit from dollarization.