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Parisa Kamali
In many countries, a sizable share of international trade is carried out by intermediaries. While large firms tend to export to foreign markets directly, smaller firms typically export via intermediaries (indirect exporting). I document a set of facts that characterize the dynamic nature of indirect exporting using firm-level data from Vietnam and develop a dynamic trade model with both direct and indirect exporting modes and customer accumulation. The model is calibrated to match the dynamic moments of the data. The calibration yields fixed costs of indirect exporting that are less than a third of those of direct exporting, the variable costs of indirect exporting are twice higher, and demand for the indirectly exported products grows more slowly. Decomposing the gains from indirect and direct exporting, I find that 18 percent of the gains from trade in Vietnam are generated by indirect exporters. Finally, I demonstrate that a dynamic model that excludes the indirect exporting channel will overstate the welfare gains associated with trade liberalization by a factor of two.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
It has been two years since the trade tensions erupted and not only captured policymakers’ but also the research community’s attention. Research has quickly zoomed in on understanding trade war rhetoric, tariff implementation, and economic impacts. The first article in the December 2019 issue sheds light on the consequences of the recent trade barriers.
International Monetary Fund
This paper is the fifth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income developing countries (LIDCs). LIDCs are a group of 59 IMF member countries primarily defined by income per capita below a threshold level. LIDCs contain one fifth of the world’s population—1.5 billion people—but account for only 4 percent of global output. The first chapter of the paper discusses recent macroeconomic developments and trends across LIDCs and, using growth decompositions, explores the key drivers of growth performance in LIDCs. A second chapter examines the challenges faced by LIDCs in implementing a value-added tax system, generally seen as a key component of a strong national tax system. The third chapter discusses how financial safety nets can be appropriately tailored to the specific needs of LIDCs, recognizing that an effective safety net is important for ensuring financial stability and underpinning public confidence in the financial system, thereby promoting financial intermediation.
Mr. Manuk Ghazanchyan, Mr. Alexander D Klemm, and Yong Sarah Zhou
Cambodia, like its regional peers, offers a number of tax incentives to investors. This paper reviews these incentives to assess their costs and benefits, including their likely effectiveness in attracting capital and in supporting the diversification strategy. It finds that an important incentive, the tax holiday, differs materially from practice elsewhere in offering a deferral rather than exempting from tax and may not be very effective. Moreover, other features of the tax system, such as the high withholding rate on dividends, imply relatively high effective tax rates for foreign investors. The paper discusses potential reforms that weigh revenue and other costs of tax incentives against the need for a competitive tax system, including a shift from tax holidays toward investment allowances.
In February 2016, twelve Pacific Rim countries signed the agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the largest and most comprehensive trade deals in history. While there are several estimates of the likely effects of the TPP, there is no systematic study on the effects on all Latin American countries. We present the results from applying a multi-sector model with perfect competition presented by Costinot and Rodriguez-Clare (2014). The exercise, based on input-output data for 189 countries and 26 sectors, shows that (i) Asian TPP members are estimated to benefit most from the agreement, (ii) negative spillovers to non-TPP LAC countries appear to be of a different order of magnitude than the gains of members, and (iii) some non-TPP LAC countries may experience relatively large benefits from joining the TPP. As a cautionary note, however, we point out that even a cursory cross-study comparison shows that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the potential effects of the TPP for both members and non-members.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines growth, structural transformation, and diversification in Mali. At present, the majority of Mali’s population is employed in low-productivity agriculture, and the secondary sector is underdeveloped. Further structural transformation and diversification of output and exports could thus yield significant growth dividends, but will be challenging in the context of a rapid projected increase in the workforce over coming decades, much of which would need to be absorbed by the agricultural sector. Policies could focus on easing the constraints to structural transformation in key areas such as education and the business climate, as well as devising a clear strategy for tackling the challenges posed by rapid population growth.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on West African Economic and Monetary Union presents external stability assessment report. The current account deficit declined in 2014. Although gross international reserve coverage has increased slightly, part of the current account deficit has been financed by a decline in commercial banks’ net foreign assets. Contingent on the implementation of government’s consolidation plans, and helped by a favorable oil price outlook, the current account deficit would further gradually decline and be matched by enough financial inflows in the medium term. According to various metrics, the real exchange rate appears to be broadly aligned with fundamentals. International reserve coverage should increase to provide stronger buffers against immediate short-term risks. Structural competitiveness and investment efficiency improvements will be essential to ensure that the planned large investment programs translate into growth and export gains as well as increased private inflows into the region.
Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. John Norregaard, and Mr. Dirk Heine
This paper recommends a system of upstream taxes on fossil fuels, combined with refunds for downstream emissions capture, to reduce carbon and local pollution emissions. Motor fuel taxes should also account for congestion and other externalities associated with vehicle use, at least until mileage-based taxes are widely introduced. An examination of existing energy/environmental tax systems in Germany, Sweden, Turkey, and Vietnam suggests that there is substantial scope for policy reform. This includes harmonizing taxes for pollution content across different fuels and end-users, better aligning tax rates with values for externalities, and scaling back taxes on vehicle ownership and electricity use that are redundant (on environmental grounds) in the presence of more targeted taxes.