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Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Jan-Martin Frie, and Louise Rabier
The services sector is increasingly important for the euro area economy, but productivity growth in the sector has stalled over the past two decades. Remaining barriers to cross-border trade in services within the EU Single Market contribute to this weak performance. Our empirical analysis suggests that slow progress in tackling these barriers is associated with political economy factors such as weak government support in parliaments, low government efficiency and high markups. To remove the cross-border restrictions on services trade, we suggest combining incentives such as financial support, technical assistance and improved communication on barriers with more effective enforcement.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Mr. Reint Gropp, Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, and Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky

Abstract

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.

Ms. Piritta Sorsa
Analysis on macroeconomic determinants of protection in the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, and Poland, while subject to many caveats, suggests that appreciation of the real exchange rate was the main macroeconomic determinant of trade policy reversals in the 1990s. This suggests that balance of payments difficulties may have been used as an excuse for protection. The analysis also suggests that greater exchange rate flexibility and tighter fiscal policies could have been used instead of import surcharges to deal with external imbalances. The surcharges may only have aggravated the external balance by slowing down exports and restructuring of production.
Mr. Patrick P. Walsh and Mr. Alexander Repkine
We examine industrial output in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania during 1989–95 in terms of pretransitional product trade orientation. The growth of EU-oriented output within sectors of industry, ex-post trade, and market liberalization, is modeled as foreign direct investment induced Schumpeterian (vertical) waves of product innovation. The growth of non-EU-oriented output within sectors is modeled as unobservable deterministic heterogeneity. The results indicate that the gap observed in industrial output performance when comparing Eastern European to former Soviet countries is mainly explained by the inherited presence of EU-oriented production and its unconstrained growth over the transition period.

Abstract

This book edited by Chorng-Huey Wong and Naheed Kirmani, examines a wide range of trade policy issues relevant in the 1990s that were the subject of a seminar organized by the IMF in 1996. The topics include the design and implementation of trade reform, trade liberalization in industrial and transition economies, regional trading arrangements, the impact of the Uruguay Round, the role of the World Trade Organization, and post Uruguay Round issues.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper reviews major issues and developments in the trade area and outlines the challenges governments face as they seek to liberalize trade in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and address new trade issues. In industrial countries, the reorientation of policies was most apparent in steps taken to liberalize financial markets and foreign direct investment, privatize public enterprises, and deregulate services, particularly in the transportation and communication sectors. Among developing countries, a growing number recognized the merits of outward, market-oriented policies and took steps to liberalize their trade regimes and open their economies to international competition. By and large, the increased focus on market principles in industrial countries did not carry over to trade and industrial policies or, most notable, to the agricultural sector. Despite strong growth performance in 1983–1989, little progress was made in rolling back the protective barriers that had risen during the preceding recessionary period; protection persists in agriculture and declining sectors and has spread to newer high-tech areas.

Mr. Elias Dinopoulos and Mr. Timothy D. Lane
The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Mr. Elias Dinopoulos and Mr. Timothy D. Lane
This paper develops a simple two-sector model of a socialist economy, in which government revenues required for servicing external debt are obtained from taxation of the socialized sector and from import taxes. Wages and employment in the socialized sector are the outcome of Nash bargaining between the government and an import-competing labor-dominated state enterprise with domestic market power. The effects of trade liberalization, demonopolization, technical improvements, and limitations on labor’s bargaining power are examined, and the implications for privatization are considered. It is shown that some combination of tax reform and debt reduction may be a precondition for market-oriented reforms.