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  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Melissa Menzies
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To promote climate change risk mitigation in financial markets, the Financial Stability Board recently proposed the creation of a Climate Disclosure Task Force, coordinated through the G20, to develop standards for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change risks. With more than 400 existing disclosure schemes, this task will be challenging. This brief identifies the key categories of governance practices that must be addressed, how these divergent practices challenge end-users, and how the establishment of criteria that define effective and efficient reporting is a critical first step for the Climate Disclosure Task Force.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transformation of ASEAN into an economic community is a significant step in the organisation’s integration process. The project, formally launched at the beginning of 2016, aims at creation of a single market of more than 620 million people, loosens the flow of goods, services and investment, which should underpin regional economic growth and catch the attention of foreign businesses. However, obstacles to economic cooperation remain, such as limitations on the movement of labour or capital, which shows that the integration process is not yet complete. The EU, which can benefit from a well-functioning market in this region, should share its own experience to support the ASEAN integration process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Wei Wang, Gemma Estrada, Jurgen Conrad, Sang-Hyop Lee, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As demand from global markets declines, slowing exports of manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China means the country must increasingly rely on domestic markets for growth. Unlike manufactured goods, services—those "intangible" products that include everything from transportation to scientific research to real estate services—are geared more toward domestic markets. Services, then, will be key to the rebalancing process. However, while the service sector has grown rapidly in the PRC, it continues to lag behind other countries at similar stages of development. In addition, the sector is dominated by traditional low-end types of services, rather than knowledge-intensive services. Heavy regulatory burdens, barriers to trade in services, and an unfavorable policy environment have been major obstacles to upgrading the sector and improving its competitiveness. Policy reform should focus on strengthening competition to raise productivity, with the goal of increasing not only the number of jobs and contribution to GDP, but also of positioning the service sector to compete internationally and spur export growth.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Reform, GDP
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Wei Wang, Gemma Estrada, Jurgen Conrad, Sang-Hyo Lee, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: As demand from global markets declines, slowing exports of manufactured goods from the People's Republic of China means the country must increasingly rely on domestic markets for growth. Unlike manufactured goods, services—those "intangible" products that include everything from transportation to scientific research to real estate services—are geared more toward domestic markets. Services, then, will be key to the rebalancing process. However, while the service sector has grown rapidly in the PRC, it continues to lag behind other countries at similar stages of development. In addition, the sector is dominated by traditional low-end types of services, rather than knowledge-intensive services. Heavy regulatory burdens, barriers to trade in services, and an unfavorable policy environment have been major obstacles to upgrading the sector and improving its competitiveness. Policy reform should focus on strengthening competition to raise productivity, with the goal of increasing not only the number of jobs and contribution to GDP, but also of positioning the service sector to compete internationally and spur export growth.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Reform, GDP
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Public lending by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) may have done more harm than good in Brazil, adversely affecting real interest rates and productivity growth. Specifically, BNDES's large amounts of subsidized lending are responsible for substantial credit market segmentation, choking off monetary policy transmission. As a result, to maintain price stability the Central Bank of Brazil is forced to raise interest rates more than it might do otherwise in the absence of BNDES lending. Restoring Brazil's capacity to grow in the medium term requires a thorough rethinking of the role of BNDES. In particular, the bank's lending rates should be aligned with market prices, term and risk premia, while taking into account that, with an adequate transparency framework, public development banks can increase private sector participation instead of crowding it out.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Theodore Moran
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For more than a decade, China has complained about what it maintains has been a pattern of erratic and politicized treatment of Chinese investors when they attempt to acquire US companies. The Chinese want the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to be more open and transparent in its rulings and to not discriminate against Chinese firms. The United States is not likely to accede to these demands in any formal or legal manner. Moran proposes practical steps to address the concerns of Chinese investors without diluting CFIUS procedures. He provides a national security threat assessment filter, which allows Chinese investors—like investors of all nationalities—to determine when their proposed acquisitions might pose a genuine threat and when any such threat is simply not plausible. He also suggests that first-time Chinese investors seek expert counsel to overcome the secrecy surrounding CFIUS objections to figure out how to proceed with problematic acquisitions.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey Schott, Euijin Jung, Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Of all the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded by Korea with its major trading partners since the turn of the century, the Korea-China FTA may be the largest in trade terms. It is, however, far from the best in terms of the depth of liberalization and the scope of obligations on trade and investment policies. Korea and China agreed to liberalize a large share of bilateral trade within 20 years, but both sides incorporated extensive exceptions to basic tariff reforms and deferred important market access negotiations on services and investment for several years. Political interests trumped economic objectives, and the negotiated outcome cut too many corners to achieve such a comprehensive result. The limited outcome in the Korea-China talks has two clear implications for economic integration among the northeast Asian countries. First, prospects for the ongoing China-Japan-Korea talks will be limited and unlikely to exceed the Korea-China outcome. Second, Korea and Japan need to strengthen their bilateral leg of the northeast Asian trilateral and the best way is by negotiating a deal in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: Dave Grossman, Roger Ballentine, Andy Karsner
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The 2015 Clean Energy Innovation Forum, “The New Energy Innovation Economy,” was co-chaired again this year by Roger Ballentine of Green Strategies and Andy Karsner of Manifest Energy. Topics discussed included the ongoing transformation of the energy user experience; distributed generation and disruption incumbent electricity business model; challenges in bridging the energy technology gap between development and adoption; and the impact of climate concerns on accelerating change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Markets, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Zachary K. Goldman
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States has long relied on its economic power to protect and advance its interests abroad. In an increasingly integrated international financial system, the U.S. economy and capital markets remain the largest in the world by almost every measure. This status affords the United States an important global leadership position and the ability to shape foreign policy outcomes with economic tools. The structure of the international trade and financial system, in which many significant banking and energy transactions as well as currency reserves are denominated in U.S. dollars, reinforces the central role of the United States.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jon Dorsch
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: At the end of 2015 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will announce the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In theory, this agreement should produce an association-wide economic integration. However, following the announcement, and for the foreseeable future, ASEAN member states will continue in significantly less than full regional economic integration. Why? Some observers believe that the AEC plans involve an "overly ambitious timeline and too many ill-thought-out initiatives." Others point to ASEAN's traditional aversion to legally binding agreements. While progress has been made in reducing or eliminating intra-ASEAN trade tariffs, substantial non-tariff barriers to trade persist. However, for most member states, the ASEAN market is relatively small while external markets, especially China, are growing rapidly. Given this outward-orientation for ASEAN trade, is the lack of an unhindered regional market really a problem?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Caroline Freund
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As the United States struggled with unemployment and other effects of the Great Recession in January 2010, President Barack Obama set the goal of doubling exports within five years and creating 2 million new export-related jobs. Four years later, however, exports are less than halfway toward that goal and the rate of export growth is slowing. More worrisome, the administration's strategy failed to boost average export growth from historical levels, despite the robust recovery in international trade after the collapse of 2009. The National Export Initiative (NEI) has come up short.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Maritime Commerce
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott, Cathleen Cimino
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Proponents of liberalized trade and finance were relieved when the global economic crisis in 2008 produced a broad range of pledges from countries around the world to avoid new barriers to trade and investment (see Evenett 2013). These promises, designed to avert a replay of the Great Depression of the 1930s, were largely honored when it came to classic forms of protection (tariffs and quotas). But the spirit of that pledge was violated as countries shifted from traditional forms of protection to behind-the-border nontariff barriers (NTBs), including local content requirements (LCRs)—policies mandating that local suppliers of goods, services, and even entire projects be favored by governments and private firms, even when foreign firms offer lower costs, better quality, and faster delivery.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Inflation in the euro area is too low, just 0.9 percent year-on-year in December 2013, and inflation expectations, measured from inflation derivative contracts, have shifted lower, indicating that markets expect some small probability of deflation in 2014 and average inflation over the next five years in the 1.25 to 1.5 percent range. The European Central Bank (ECB), however, seems to be content with this outlook. Its current projections show a very slow economic recovery and inflation at just 1.3 percent in two years' time. Yet the ECB describes the risks to inflation as balanced. This puzzling assessment might be due to the fact that the ECB's definition of price stability is less precise than that employed by other central banks, and some ECB members may interpret the definition as setting a ceiling, rather than a target, for inflation at close to but below 2 percent. But if one considers the ECB's self-assessment of success since its creation—achieving 2 percent inflation on average—its current inflation forecast of 1.3 percent would fall short of achieving its price stability mandate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Brian Sack
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The dramatic increase in the Federal Reserve's balance sheet since 2009 has attracted the attention of economists, pundits, and ordinary citizens. The amount of assets held by the Fed recently crossed $4 trillion and will likely continue to rise to a peak of about $4.5 trillion. This run-up in asset holdings has resulted from the Fed's large-scale asset purchase programs, which were intended to support economic growth. However, a side-effect of these asset purchases is the creation of unprecedented amounts of liquidity in the financial system.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Mark Twain once wrote an essay about the difficulties of learning what he called "The Awful German Language." Similar barriers to comprehension seem to plague those trying to explain recent German economic performance. By most measures, Germany has the best functioning labor market among large economies in the West, with levels of employment reaching those in the United States at the end of the turbo-charged 1990s. A debate has stirred, however, about whether this success has come with a price—specifically, whether Germany's domestic structural reforms have lowered living standards for Germany's low income workers and worsened income inequality and whether Germany is fortuitously and perhaps selfishly riding a wave of strong foreign demand for German exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN has become a focal point of the rapidly changing economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN members are increasingly stable and politically confident, and constitute an emerging economic powerhouse. The region is dynamic, with 600 million citizens and a gross domestic product (GDP) that exceeds $2 trillion and is expected to grow 6 percent annually for the next two decades. (The Appendix at the end of this paper reports detailed output and trade projections to 2025.) Through deeper internal integration via the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and external initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ASEAN is becoming a driving force in regional cooperation and a much-courted economic partner. The AEC and the RCEP projects are globally significant: the AEC could generate powerful demonstration effects for other developing regions, and the RCEP could become an important building bloc of the multilateral trading system.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Food security encompasses multiple, inter-connected dimensions, from production-related concerns, to market and price dynamics, environmental trends and policy approaches. Given this, 'robustness', the ability to withstand disruptions to the various dimensions, is critical to food security. Yet, countries in Southeast Asia continue to be largely focused on domestic production alone, which is unsustainable in the long run. This Policy Brief suggests that, in order to increase food security robustness, countries could turn to regional-level action. Towards this end, an analysis using the Rice Bowl Index is used to identify possible areas of cooperation and collaboration at the regional level.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Economics, Environment, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: East Asia
  • Author: Gary Hufbauer, Sherry Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 102, Axel Berger claimed that the debate over a multilateral framework for investment is futile. We disagree. Following its achievements at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the World Trade Organization (WTO) should launch negotiations to draft a 21st century Investment Framework Agreement (IFA).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Joachim Karl
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In his famous book, "The End of History and the Last Man", published in 1992, Francis Fukuyama argued that Western democracy represents the end point of the socio-cultural evolution of humanity and the final form of government.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Anthea Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: There have been many calls for a rebalancing of investor protection and state sovereignty in the investment treaty system. However, another equally important shift is underway: the recalibration of interpretive authority between treaty parties and arbitral tribunals. In newer-style investment treaties, states are increasingly protecting and enhancing their role in interpreting and applying their treaties.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi, Pierre Siklos, Samantha St. Amand
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Central banks (and policy makers more generally) should seek a global consensus before implementing policies that may have global repercussions. The global economy can only become more resilient to shocks when there is greater central bank cooperation. The G20 is a natural venue to promote cooperation and to help the global economy return to stronger economic growth, but other forums may also be appropriate. The maintenance of financial stability is a common resource and should be treated as such. Excessive reliance on sovereignty is counterproductive and contains the seeds of the next crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Greater investment in agriculture is needed to reduce rural poverty and improve food security. This means not simply increasing supply but ensuring that adequate, nutritious food is accessible to every person at all times. How investment is made, its context and conditions, is at least as important as how much is invested.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Mike Callaghan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Restoring global economic growth and creating jobs has been an objective of successive G20 summits. Australia has also made it a priority for the G20 in 2014. To achieve such an outcome requires a comprehensive and agreed growth strategy. The G20 lacks such a strategy and has failed to provide a clear and consistent message about how members can or are working together to achieve such an outcome.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Gerald Stang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: In 2012, China was the world's seventh biggest producer of natural gas, the fourth largest oil producer, and the biggest producer of hydroelectricity. It also produced almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined. Still, this is not enough. China's domestic energy bounty has long allowed the country to keep its overall import dependency relatively low but, as the country's economy continues to boom, its import dependency is growing quickly, particularly with regard to oil.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: David Mansfield, William A. Byrd
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With large increases in Afghan opium cultivation and production in 2013 and 2014, there is a risk that resulting frustration may give rise to a search for extreme but unproductive solutions. There are no easy solutions to the illegal narcotics problem. The proposal that Afghanistan could shift to licensed production of opium for pain medications will not work. Due to severe problems with governance, rule of law and security, opium licensing in Afghanistan would be subject to extremely high leakages. Afghanistan's comparative advantage in supplying the illicit market means that it would likely expand cultivation to meet demand in both markets. Afghanistan is a high-cost producer of opium, and prices for licensed opium are much lower than on the illegal market, so profits might well be marginal or even negative. Existing producers of licensed opiates— Australia, Turkey, India, France and others—would strongly oppose any move to let Afghanistan become a competitor on the licensed market. Even if a more liberalized market for opiates is envisioned, technological advances and modern techniques in other countries mean that Afghanistan could not be a competitive producer.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Turkey, India, France, Australia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September visit to the United States allowed for the "soft reset" of a strategic partnership that has been in search of greater focus in recent years The smiles and handshakes served to ease the anxieties that had been building on both sides and had contributed to increased squabbling in the bilateral relationship Mutual frustrations are likely to continue in areas such as intellectual property rights and multilateral trade negotiations, where there has been no reconciliation in the two countries' largely incompatible points of view The U.S. and India share clearly convergent interests in both combating Islamist militancy and in balancing against a rising China Although the partnership's full potential is far from realized, these two geostrategic issues are sufficient to keep the trajectory positive and to sustain widely-held hopes that ties between the world's two largest democracies will continue to deepen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, South Asia, India
  • Author: Avinash D. Persaud
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Bailouts and bail-ins of failing financial institutions have been hotly disputed in the global financial crisis of the last five years. At the height of the crisis, several failing banks were bailed out with taxpayer money so they could service their debts, but as public outrage mounts, policymakers are increasingly looking at bailing in these institutions before using taxpayer funds. Bail-ins, also called haircuts, require the troubled institution's creditors to write off some of the debt or agree to a restructuring of the debt, which reduces their holdings. The public has demanded the imposition of these costs on creditors and bond - holders, arguing that if bad lending as well as bad borrowing went unpunished it would be encouraged. Additionally, the yawning fiscal deficits that have followed bailouts have led to unpopular fiscal retrenchment.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Pierre Siklos, Martin T. Bohl, Jeanne Diesteldorf
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether the introduction of Chinese stock index futures had an impact on the volatility of the underlying spot market. To this end, we estimate several Generalized Auto-Regressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity (GARCH) models and compare our findings for mainland China with Chinese index futures traded in Singapore and Hong Kong. Our results indicate that Chinese index futures decrease spot market volatility with all three spot markets considered. In contrast, we do not obtain the same results for the companion index futures markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. China's stock market is relatively young and largely dominated by private retail investors. Nevertheless, our evidence is favourable to the stabilization hypothesis usually confirmed in mature markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Singapore
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The expansion of uranium mining into states of weak governance calls for new forms of regulation from private and public actors. Companies along the nuclear supply chain can strengthen the global nuclear regulatory regime through engagement, material stewardship, and traceability approaches.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Markets, Nuclear Weapons, Natural Resources, Nuclear Power
  • Author: Timo Behr, Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The outcome of the German federal elections on September 22nd will have a significant impact on the management of the on-going eurozone crisis and set the tone for the future course of European integration. Although the EU and the euro are largely absent from current electoral debates, significant differences on these issues exist both inside and between German political parties in the run-up to the September polls. However, in the absence of significant debate, fundamental decisions over the future of EU integration will be postponed until after the election, when a cross-party compromise appears more feasible. Regardless of the election outcome, the next German government is likely to prove more conciliatory on austerity policies in Europe and will boost domestic spending, but will retain some red lines on further EU integration. While the rhetoric and the pace of change might differ significantly depending on the shape that the next coalition government takes, German eurozone policies will continue to trade fiscal solidarity for structural reforms.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Natalia Aivazova
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Five years since the global economic crisis began in 2008, many of the world's advanced economies are still struggling with sluggish growth and high levels of joblessness, especially among younger workers. In June 2013 the European Council expressed concern that “youth unemployment has reached unprecedented levels in several Member States” and called for “urgent action.” Much of the debate in Europe and the United States has focused on fiscal and monetary measures; while macroeconomic policy can address cyclical problems, a wide consensus recognizes the need to address structural challenges. One such challenge is a mismatch between the skills demanded by employers and those available among the population, especially younger workers. This mismatch can be addressed in part through the implementation of apprenticeship programs. The European Council recently concluded that “high quality apprenticeships and work-based learning will be promoted, notably through the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.” However, in the United States, where many are struggling to find jobs after graduating, apprenticeship programs hardly draw government and private-sector resources. Boosting apprenticeships could give both European and US workers the much-needed skills and competitive edge.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Youth Culture
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Last week we argued that a US attack on Syria would have little impact on asset prices. Here we expand this analysis to consider the effect on asset prices of other recent US attacks on a foreign power. Subject to the qualifications set out below, we find that the impact of US warfare over the past twenty years has been minimal. Excluding the first Gulf War , it is almost non-existent.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The equity market has had a tough few months due to a combination of concerns, including fears that a US-led attack on Syria might lead to a wider Middle East conflict and threaten oil supplies. Of greater concern for equities are worries that a turn in the US monetary policy cycle could eventually kill off the US recovery. However with valuation not looking like a barrier to further gains, this four-and-a-half year equity bull market will in all likelihood climb the wall of worry and set another new high before the year is out.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: It is now looking all but certain that the United States will launch some form of attack on Syria. What is unclear is the severity and duration of the attack. Leaving aside the political ramifications, the immediate economic effects are likely to be limited (and are mostly already factored in). Opposing impacts on inflation and activity means that changes to central bank policy could be postponed. A prolonged campaign could have wider ramifications, not least if there is a risk of a geographical widening of the conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Since the US Federal Reserve signalled that a turn in the interest rate cycle may be on the horizon, UK and to a lesser extent Eurozone interest rates have tracked US rates higher. But the UK and Eurozone economies are less well placed than the US to cope with higher interest rates. Simulations carried out on our Global Economic Model show that higher rates would be particularly harmful to the UK economy's embryonic recovery. In an attempt to stem the rise in interest rates, the Bank of England and the ECB have introduce forward guidance but with little, if any, success. Markets do not seem convinced by the Bank of England's commitment to forward guidance and are testing its resolve. It seems likely that over time both central banks may have to strengthen their forward guidance, in the case of the Bank of England by augmenting it with further quantitative easing.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Shinzo Abe was elected Prime Minister of Japan last December on a programme intended to end two decades of deflation and lost growth in Japan. His regime, dubbed 'Abenomics', consists of three arrows: a monetary stimulus, a fiscal stimulus and structural reform. The first two are well under way. The third has yet to be fired. But following his party's victory in July's Upper House election, Mr Abe has all the backing he will need – or ever get – to forcefully launch the third arrow of Abenomics. This scenario alert examines the potential upsides for the Japanese economy if Abenomics succeeds. Although the economy will not return to the 4%+ growth rates seen in the 1980s, it could secure growth in the 2-3% range. This would be a major improvement on its dismal performance of less than 1% average real growth a year since 1993.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan, Syria
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: At the end of last week, there were rumours that the Fed may change its unemployment threshold from 6.5% to 6%, either at its 30-31 July meeting or, perhaps more likely, at its 17-18 September meeting. Such a move would confirm that the Fed funds rate is likely to remain in its current 0-0.25% range until 2015, which is in line with our baseline scenario. But while the change would be an acknowledgement that the US labour market has performed more strongly than expected, the change – if implemented – could still be a mistake as it may erode the value of forward guidance by moving the goalposts.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Mario Draghi's commitment a year ago to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro looks to have been an important turning point in the Eurozone crisis. Systemic risk has fallen, the euro has strengthened, spreads on peripheral debt have narrowed and bond and equity markets have become less sensitive to bad Eurozone news flow. Indeed, to date markets seem to have taken Draghi at his word and seem unwilling to test his resolve. But although confidence in the outlook for the Eurozone among investors has risen over the past year, the real economy is yet to emerge from recession. We continue to expect this to happen in the second half of this year, a view supported by this week's improvement in the PMI data. However, unless action is taken to reduce borrowing costs paid by households and companies in the peripheral economies, the recovery will be anaemic. With that in mind, the ECB's announcement that it will ease its collateral rules only marginally is disappointing.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Recent US data have been uneven. An improving manufacturing ISM survey was offset by non-manufacturing data being worse than expected. Last week a strong consumer credit number was balanced by weaker small business confidence. The US economy almost certainly went through a soft patch in Q2. However, on balance the recovery–unexciting as it has been–remains on track, with some possible further mileage to be had from equities. This is consistent with the recent dovish statement by Fed Chairman Bernanke, suggesting that the tapering of quantitative easing is still some way off.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Global Recession, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Comments from the US Federal Reserve aimed at signalling that monetary policy cannot stay at historically low levels indefinitely have caused bond yields and credit spreads to rise both in the US and abroad. Higher borrowing rates are particularly inappropriate for the Eurozone which, unlike the US, is still struggling to emerge from recession. This tightening of financial conditions will place pressure on the ECB to act. Although surveys show that investors' bearishness on US government bonds is at an extreme level, suggesting that in the coming weeks bond yields are more likely to fall than rise, the longer-term trend in bond yields is now upwards. But we do not expect the rise in yields over the next two or three years to kill off the US recovery. Consequently, we believe that the US equity market is still on an upward uptrend, albeit one that will experience regular spikes in volatility as the Fed gradually moves away from its ultra-loose policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Markets took fright after Ben Bernanke's press conference on 19 June at the prospect of an early end to QE. Bond purchases might be tapered off sooner, as the Fed now expects unemployment to fall to its target of 6.5% next year rather than in 2015. It is not yet clear whether any of the bonds bought as part of QE will eventually be sold off. While it is obvious that an end to the Fed's purchases will have an impact on output growth and asset prices, our Global Economic Model shows that the effects will be limited.
  • Topic: Markets, Global Recession, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The European Central Bank has postponed any plans to introduce targeted measures to reduce the cost of borrowing for small and medium-sized businesses in the credit-starved peripheral Eurozone economies. Given the widening gap between the lower costs of borrowing for companies in Germany and France and the higher costs in the periphery, we think that there is a strong case for the ECB to take action. Simulations using our Global Macroeconomic Model show that if half the tightening in credit conditions seen since 2008 were to be reversed within two years, Eurozone GDP would be 0.7% higher by the end of 2017 than under our baseline forecast. There would be over 400,000 fewer people unemployed. This would be particularly beneficial for peripheral Eurozone risk assets.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: The housing market is recovering, according to recent price and activity data. Post-crisis price corrections were smaller in the UK than in the US and much of Europe, and demand is now being bolstered by the government's Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes. This has given rise to some worries that the UK is in danger of inflating another house price bubble. While housing supply is very tight, we are not convinced that these schemes will have enough impact on demand to cause prices to take off.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Shifts in financial balances between sectors of the economy are worth watching because they can signal broader cyclical changes. The US household financial balance turned negative in Q1. But that was mainly due to distortions in income related to tax increases in 2013. Taking the average of Q4 2012 and Q1 2013, households still have a positive balance. More importantly, the conditions are in place for a rise in capital expenditure (capex) by the corporate sector. This would allow both household and public sector savings to increase. It would also mean an upside risk to our main scenario for the US economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Philip Martin
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Recruitment matches workers with jobs, a process that is often complicated by asymmetric information, viz. employers know more about the jobs they are offering than job seekers, who know more about their abilities than employers. Economists have developed a variety of models to explain how employers screen applicants to find the workers best suited to fill the jobs they offer, and how workers signal their ability to employers by earning degrees and certificates.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Migration, Labor Issues
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: In recent years, European countries in which English is not the primary language of instruction have developed an increasing number of programs taught either fully or partly in English in order to serve domestic demand for higher education in English and to attract students from around the world. In an IIE briefing paper published in 2012, we looked at trends related to English-taught master's programs in Europe. We were able to gain new insights into the types of programs that were on offer, as well as the types of programs international students were looking for. This paper takes another look at data from StudyPortals.eu, the most comprehensive website related to educational offerings in Europe, in order to get a sense of where the market is going. In 2011, StudyPortals estimated that 90 percent of English-taught master's programs in Europe were represented on the website, which makes it a remarkably accurate reflection of the situation on the ground.
  • Topic: Education, Markets, International Affairs, Labor Issues, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nicholas Borst
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Chinese financial system has undergone almost continuous reform since the dismantling in the 1980s of the Soviet- style system where only one state-controlled bank existed. Government efforts to create a financial system that adheres to international best practices of commercial lending accelerated in the 1990s (box 1). Reforms progressed quickly during this period, but they were accompanied by excessive credit growth and a massive increase in nonperforming loans, threatening the solvency of some banks and the financial stability of the entire economy. The risk of these weaknesses was dramatized by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, in which several nearby countries were crippled by plunging currency values, rising interest rates and difficulties servicing their foreign-held debts.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The euro area has made significant strides in the last six months in designing a banking union. The goal has been to centralize supervisory decision making and improve the management of failing banks while protecting European taxpayers and imposing costs on creditors through so-called bail-ins to reduce moral hazard. Euro area leaders have reached some political agreements, and legislation is being prepared for eventual adoption by the European Parliament and then the various member states. This progress has been hailed as a step in the right direction, with particular praise for the euro area leaders' plan to endow the European Central Bank (ECB) with supervisory powers and create new rules for managing troubled banks.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: William R. Cline, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Five years after the Federal Reserve and the Treasury allowed the investment bank Lehman Brothers to fail, their actions (or inaction) remain a focus of debate. Some argue that it was an inconsistent policy to have let Lehman fail while making emergency loans to save other large financial institutions in the same time frame. In this Policy Brief we present evidence that the Fed and Treasury had a sound reason to have bailed out other institutions while letting Lehman fail. Simply put, Lehman was insolvent—probably deeply so—whereas the other institutions arguably were solvent. In addition, the other institutions had abundant collateral to pledge, whereas what little collateral Lehman had to pledge was of questionable quality and scattered across many affiliated entities. Thus, federal officials, at least in hindsight, appear to have followed the dictum of Walter Bagehot (cited above), which has guided central banks for almost 150 years.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Eric De Keuleneer
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief discusses a few simple measures to improve both the commercial and investment banking landscapes, with or without formal separation. Covering deposits with quality collateral would make them safer and would help create an easier guarantee and resolution mechanism at the larger eurozone level. Strong central counterparties and transparency requirements would improve market mechanisms and market discipline in capital markets and investment banking. Specific governance measures would also help improve the financial sector. Finally, a better control of bank solvency, together with improved capital market transparency and accessibility, should encourage the progressive deleveraging of commercial banks, and enhance the long term funding of the economy by capital markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief argues that the envisaged design of the Banking Union risks not being sufficient to deal with the next large-scale financial crisis. Therefore, an "if all else fails" clause should be approved, stating that the Banking Union members can provide joint last resort financing to deal with a future crisis. An agreement on the clause should be feasible because it is beneficial to all Member States.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jodie Thorpe
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Since 2000, nearly 800 large-scale land deals covering 33m hectares globally – an area four times the size of Portugal – have been recorded. This land has shifted from smallholder production, local community use, or the provision of important ecosystem services, to commercial use, driven in part by the rising demand for large-scale crops like sugar.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Portugal
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There are three aggregate numbers that describe the problem the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is inheriting: the 130 banks under its direct supervision hold assets worth 250% of the euro area's GDP, their capital is equivalent to only 4% of their assets' value and they have made zero profits, in the aggregate, over the last four years.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2007-09 global financial crisis led to a virtual collapse in economic activity and increased financial volatility worldwide. For the developing countries, the main channel of transmission has been a drop in external transactions, such as trade, financial and capital flows, and remittances. The southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMC) have also faced declining economic activity, although there seems to be considerable variation in the relative magnitudes and timing of the decline. Most of the economies in the Mediterranean basin have had delayed but longer-lasting consequences as a result of the crisis, driven mostly by their endemic trade and investment ties with the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Ineke Gubbels-van Hal, Lorna Schrefler
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Right from the start of the REACH debate, following the Commission proposal of October 2003, one of the more serious concerns was whether and how SMEs could cope with REACH. Indeed, there were doubts whether one of the main objectives of REACH – competitiveness of chemical and downstream companies – is consistent with the design and detailed implementation of REACH. Already in 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on this aspect, insisting e.g. on lower fees for SMEs as one remedy to reduce the expected regulatory burden for smaller companies. The fear of REACH being unduly heavy and costly for SMEs has never gone away (see e.g. Gubbels Pelkmans, 2009) but merely receded in the background when the Commission and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) were in the process of building and elaborating the REACH machinery in operational terms. This year, the problem is rearing its head again in a magnified fashion and it will not go away so easily this time.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi, Jacopo Carmassi, Ginevra Bruzzone
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) for banks is now under consideration before the European Parliament and the Council. The main principles and tools applicable for resolving a failing bank are contained in the June 2012 Commission proposal for a Directive on bank recovery and resolution (BRR), aimed at harmonising crisis management and resolution tools in EU member states, which is also under consideration by the European legislators. Any discussion of the new system must therefore be based on both proposals.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is still an unresolved question whether a process for financial services regulatory cooperation and convergence will be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).From a n end-user's perspective, it could be argued that its inclusion could be an opportunity not only as regards product choice, but also to improve the consumer or investor protection regulatory environment on both sides of the Atlantic. The inclusion would also be in line with the assessments made by both the EU and the US that the G-20 agenda has been incorporated in local legislation and that both regimes are thus 'equivalent'.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Matthias Busse
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) was designed to prevent the emergence of imbalances like the large and persistent current account deficits that occurred in Spain and Ireland. But within this mechanism, a current account surplus is also viewed as a source of concern. Indeed, last year's Alert Mechanism Report (AMR), issued by the European Commission signalled an excessive current account surplus for the Netherlands and Luxembourg, while Germany just barely scraped by with a 5.9% surplus, marginally evading the 6% threshold (over a 3-year average). With the most recent report, however, Germany's status has changed. Along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, it too has now been singled out as a euro-area country with a surplus above the upper threshold.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Flows of crude oil sales are determined by refining demand. In recent years Saudi Arabia has invested massively in captive refining capacity at home and abroad and will be able to refine two-thirds or more of its oil in controlled refineries by the end of the current decade. Because refineries in Europe are likely to be put on sale as distressed assets, Saudi Aramco would have no difficulty in further expanding its controlled capacity. A continuation of this trend may even lead to the Kingdom not exporting crude oil to third parties at all. This is in line with the country's ambition to diversify its economy and its limited interest in further expanding oil production for the sake of selling oil as crude.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Sebastian Plóciennik
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Germany will draw a lot of attention in September 2013 when its citizens will choose a new federal parliament-Bundestag. The reason is not only the fact that the country is a big player but also that it dominates Europe on a scale not observed since the 1980s. Its economic model seems to be the most efficient in Europe at the moment and the country even has enough power to set reform agendas across the EU. Since the biggest changes in German internal and external politics can be expected if the opposition is victorious, it seems important to analyse in advance the key elements of the proposals by the major opposition force: Social-Democratic Party (SPD) and the Alliance 90/The Greens. This could help us understand what kind of change to German capitalism is advocated by these parties and how their election success could affect European integration.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Maya Rostowska
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The outcome of negotiations for a transatlantic trade deal depends largely on the stance of politicians and stakeholders in the EU and the U.S. An overview of the debate on either side of the Atlantic reveals both sides' respective interests and suggests which areas will prove particularly difficult to negotiate. These include public procurement provisions, data privacy, agricultural issues, and the financial services sector.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William C. Greenwalt
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The Pentagon has been undergoing major procurement reform since 1984, but hoped-for results have not been achieved. Bipartisan acquisition reform legislation was passed in the 1990s, but these positive changes did not hold. At the heart of the current procurement dilemma is too much faith in central planning and too little faith in the free market. Policymakers must first remedy the incentives underlying reform, and five overarching categories are driving the misplaced incentives: trust in central planning leading to increased bureaucracy, preference for defense-unique versus commercial solutions, distrust of the defense industry and profit motives, fear that the workforce is incapable of exercising discretion, and finally, preoccupation with cost certainty and maintaining low prices over achieving results and value. By reaching out to and incentivizing the private sector, the Pentagon can help reform the procurement system by lowering costs, restoring competition, and delivering taxpayers the best value for their money.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Markets, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David J. Stockton
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Janet Yellen, who will serve as the 15th chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System after her likely confirmation in December 2013, has the experience, intelligence, and judgment to be an excellent successor to Ben S. Bernanke. But she will need to employ all those strengths, and then some, to deal with the challenges facing the nation's central bank. Her success in confronting these challenges will profoundly affect the United States and world economies. Five key challenges await her.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William R. Cline
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Since the previous estimates of fundamental equilibrium exchange rates (FEERs) in this series in May (Cline 2013), numerous exchange rates have moved substantially in response to the announcement in late May that the US Federal Reserve would likely begin to "taper" its quantitative easing program of large-scale asset purchases. The new estimates here again take as their point of departure the medium-term current account projections of the most recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF 2013b). However, because of a seeming inertia in the Fund's projections despite large exchange rate moves, this round of calculations pays special attention to compiling alternative estimates for economies with large changes in exchange rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: There is a long-standing debate among economists and policymakers on the benefits of flexible versus fixed exchange rates (Klein and Shambaugh 2010). In principle, flexible exchange rates allow a country's central bank to focus on stabilizing economic growth and inflation, which are the ultimate goals of monetary policy. However, some argue that in practice central banks often do not use their powers wisely and it may be better to restrict their freedom by requiring them to peg their currency to that of an important trading partner. Others note that flexible exchange rates are far more volatile than fundamental factors can explain (Flood and Rose 1995), raising the possibility that they may introduce wasteful cross-sectoral fluctuations in economic activity. One common viewpoint is that flexible exchange rates may be fine for large countries but that the smallest countries are better off with fixed exchange rates (Åslund 2010).
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, United Kingdom
  • Author: Barclay E. James, Paul M. Vaaler.
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Business researchers, executives and regulators may assume that state ownership in firms raises risk for private co-investors. After all, private investors are seeking profits while states are seeking welfare. Giving them both equity only confuses the aims of an investment project, complicates the job of investment project managers and raises the overall risk of investment project failure. But these assumptions do not fit the evidence as demonstrated by a well-known risk indicator observable in hundreds of investment projects located in dozens o f countries: in countries where initial investment terms are more vulnerable to renegotiation by host country governments, we found that "minority rules" apply w hereby a non-controlling, but still substantial equity investment by a host country government can play a risk-mitigating role.
  • Topic: Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Ethiopia
  • Author: Gus Van Harten
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Investment treaty arbitration has unfolded rapidly in recent years. Some observations arising from analyses of arbitrator awards are high lighted below. They support broad conclusions that: arbitrators reviewed a wide range of legislative, executive and judicial decisions but typically did not exercise judicial restraint in various ways associated with domestic and international courts; arbitrators typically adopted expansive approaches to their authority and to investor entitlements to compensation, especially where the claimant had the nationality of a major Western capital-exporting state; and decision-making power was highly concentrated amongarbitrators, suggesting a need for closer scrutiny of how the most active individual arbitrators have expanded the meaning of investment treaties and corresponding principles of state liability.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Author: Nikia Clarke
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Energy investments and infrastructure contracts remain prominent in China's Africa engagement. However, investment in manufacturing makes up a significant proportion of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Its characteristics–large numbers of smaller transactions by privately owned small and medium-sized firms–make these flows difficult to assess or control. However, China and African governments have an interest in effectively channeling this type of FDI.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Tadahiro Asami
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) has accepted the updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (Guidelines), adopted on May 25, 2011 after a series of negotiations and consultations among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), adhering governments, BIAC, the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, and OECD Watch, an international network of civil society organizations. The Guidelines are the most comprehensive government-endorsed code of responsible business conduct. The Update upheld the voluntary and non-legally binding character of the Guidelines, and while the new text introduces important new elements, the Update is very carefully formulated and its changes are accompanied by extensive conditionalities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States suffers from a severe self-inflicted wound. Together, federal and state governments impose almost the highest corporate tax rate found among advanced countries, 39 percent. Only Japan is fractionally higher. The high US rate has adverse consequences—lost investment, lost jobs, and less innovation—and goes a long way to explain slipping US competitiveness in the world economy.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is in recession and will show negative growth in 2012; GDP will fall sharply in Greece and Portugal, and there is substantial risk that Spain and Italy will follow suit (the Commission's recent forecasts seem overly optimistic and complacent; the IMF is more downbeat). But fiscal policies are uniformly restrictive throughout the eurozone and much of the Union, and the hopes that fiscal consolidation could spur growth by improving household and business confidence are not materialising. In reality, domestic demand has been hit too hard by fiscal consolidation, and investment throughout the Union remains well below pre- crisis levels. Credit is tight due to the deteriorating quality of borrowers and the ongoing deleveraging in banking.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Pierre Siklos
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Reinhart and Rogoff's timely volume, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (2009), makes it abundantly clear that financial crises are protracted affairs. The title of this policy brief highlights the irony of lessons never learned. History, in the form of recurring economic crises, does indeed repeat itself. Nevertheless, a closer look at Reinhart and Rogoff's often-publicized conclusion reveals that there are remarkable variations across individual countries' experiences, as well as across time. For example, the actual severity of crises can be exacerbated when a banking crisis is accompanied by a currency crisis. Most importantly, the severity of the recession that typically accompanies all types of financial crises is often determined by the response of policy makers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Global Recession, Monetary Policy, Governance
  • Author: Onur Bayramoğlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: While the post-war international monetary system that evolved under the leadership of the U.S. dollar has secured credit abundance – and hence contributed to global growth – the system has also revealed its deficiencies already by 1950's. In contrary to the 1930's when the world's main problem was chronic deflation; two decades later, the problem has become chronic inflation and fiscal deficits. Since then many blamed the indiscipline of the Keynesian school of thought and the inability of the U.S. dollar to become a global “public good” by being a stable international currency. In this Policy Brief, I overview the many aspects of the post-war international monetary system through the lens of the post-war French economist, Jacques Rueff, and question the applicability of his longproposed gold standard in today's highly integrated and speculative money markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sally Trethewie
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: Given that volatility in rice prices is expected to continue, governments in Southeast Asia should consider policy measures to address the factors that impact price formation and stability. The non- transparent nature of the way rice is traded in Southeast Asia is contrary to the free-trade rationale of ASEAN agricultural trade policy and food security frameworks. The underlying dynamic of opacity (of information) is the reason for policy decisions that contribute to instability in rice price formation. In particular, limited information on the availability of rice and composition of trade deals results in misinformed purchasing behaviour, particularly during price shocks. The lack of transparency perpetuates distrust in the regional rice market, leading countries to disengage from the market and instead pursue economically inefficient self- sufficiency strategies.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Chen Zhao, Xiaoying Huo
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Among developing countries, China attracts most foreign direct investment (FDI). Where is this investment located within China, what explains its distribution and what are policy implications? We used UNCTAD's FDI Performance Index to answer the first question. Although developed for countries , it can be applied to sub-national units. It uses provincial GDP to ascertain whether a given territorial unit has received FDI inflows as expected from its economic size. Standardizing the data accordingly reveals three clusters of provinces for 2007-2010 (table 1, figure 1 below): The first cluster encompasses virtually all coastal provinces: they have an index value above 1, i.e. perform better than their economic size would lead one to expect. They account for 9 of the top 11 performers of Mainland China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (“provinces”). The provinces in the middle cluster underperform (index value of 1-0.5). They include 5 central provinces, but also 3 western and 2 coastal provinces. The provinces in the bottom cluster underperform significantly (index value below 0.5), comprising primarily the country's western provinces (8 out of the 10 provinces in this cluster).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Clint Peinhardt, Todd Allee
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The proliferation of investment treaties is perhaps exceeded only by academic studies of those treaties. Legal scholarship has long been attentive to the evolution in international investment agreement (IIA) content -- but until recently, quantitative assessments of IIAs have tended to treat them as interchangeable: the only measure of investor protections encoded in IIAs is whether a treaty had been signed and/or entered into force. Thankfully, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has been at the forefront of capturing not just IIAs' proliferation but also the evolution in their content. Its work shows that treaties apply for differing durations, have conflicting procedures for termination and include varying definitions of even basic terms, such as “investors” and “investment.” Other quantitative studies have begun to measure these variations, focusing initially on differences in dispute resolution. 1 Some IIAs demand that investors choose between domestic and international dispute resolution; some provide explicit consent of both parties to international arbitration; and some designate a particular forum for arbitration, whereas others specify multiple options. Of course, IIAs vary across many dimensions, but our initial examination of dispute resolution provisions alone demonstrates the importance of examining IIA content.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Alice H. Amsden
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A priori, is there a growth/efficiency justification for government programs designed to support and promote national companies (public and private) as opposed to, and in competition with, opening the doors to multinational enterprises (MNEs)? In competitive markets, there should be no difference. Where national companies close in capabilities to foreign affiliates do not exist, foreign direct investment (FDI) may stimulate development, if a country is lucky enough to attract it. But in the imperfect markets that characterize the BRICs and other emerging markets, where foreign affiliates may crowd out excellent but inexperienced national firms, the question arises as to which type of enterprise policy makers should encourage for the long run. Historically, policy makers used tariffs to promote national firms (a “race to the bottom”). Today they use investments in science and technology (a “race to the top”).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Stephan W. Schill
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: At the heart of the so-called “legitimacy crisis” of international investment law, prominently reflected in the Public Statement on the International Investment Regime, is what I call the public law challenge. It builds on the observation that one-off appointed arbitrators, instead of standing courts, review government acts and reach far into the sphere of domestic public law by crafting and refining the standards governing in vestor-state relations. Arbitrations against Uruguay and Australia concerning cigarette packaging are the most recent examples of genuinely public law disputes now settled in arbitration. The disputes about Argentina's emergency legislation and Canada's ban on pesticide s are others. These arbitrations create friction with domestic public law as arbitrators, having little democratic legitimacy, often operate in non-transparent proceedings and produce increasing amounts of incoherent decisions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Canada, Argentina, Australia
  • Author: Philip K. Verleger
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The United States has initiated new sanctions against Iran aimed at preventing it from collecting revenue from exports of crude oil. The European Union has followed, embargoing all imports of Iranian crude from July 1, 2012 and preventing any firms from entering into new contracts to import Iranian oil after January 23, 2012. The new US and EU sanctions could be the most draconian in many years. If implemented fully, US sanctions would force trading partners to choose between the United States and Iran. EU sanctions would cut Iran off from an important market. These sanctions, while reducing Iranian income, could pose a very serious economic threat to countries that have significant trade with the United States and/or import significant quantities of oil from Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Oxfam believes that the increasing involvement of the private sector in humanitarian relief can add to overall humanitarian capacity . The private sector brings skills and competencies, and is likely to also bring new practices and perspectives to the humanitarian aid community. Any private sector involvement in humanitarian relief must conform with the humanitarian principles embodied in the Red Cross/Crescent and NGO Code of Conduct, including impartial aid based on assessed need, accountability to beneficiaries as well as donors, reduction of future vulnerability as well as immediate relief, and coordination. Oxfam recommends that humanitarian agencies pursue long-term partnerships with private sector entities, so that the private sector's engagement in humanitarian work is strategic, and not just reactive. Partnerships can be bilateral or through consortia, via a variety of modalities. Oxfam has adopted processes for its own engagement with the private sector that it recommends to other humanitarian NGOs. These include screening potential private sector partners to address ethical concerns, potential conflicts with Oxfam's mission and humanitarian principles, and conflicts of interest for the company. Pilot projects can test the working relationship and suitability/appropriateness of contributions before projects are scaled up. These principles apply to private sector humanitarian engagement, including response to natural disasters, conflicts, and complex emergencies, as well as in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Markets, Foreign Aid
  • Author: Lauren McCarthy, Liz Kirk, Dr Kate Grosser
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This Briefing for Business is intended for senior managers in global and national companies, especially those retailing and producing food and fast-moving consumer goods, and which source goods or labour in developing countries. Although many companies already do much to protect human rights in their operations and value chains, there is more that they can and must do.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Jonas Teusch
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief argues that pursuing the renewables objective could contribute to the completion of the internal electricity market, help to overcome opposition to transmission projects and decrease the market power of incumbents. Conversely, an integrated internal electricity market means less price volatility in specific regional markets, which allows for more efficient deployment and grid integration of renewables.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Ninna Nyberg Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Migration has become business, big business. Over the last few decades a host of new opportunities have emerged that capitalise on migrants' desire to move as well as on governments' attempts to manage migratory flows. Across the globe we are witnessing a wide assembly of actors whose existence depends on money paid either to facilitate or to constrain migration mobility – specialised transportation companies, visa facilitation agencies, labour recruiters, security contractors, human smugglers and NGOs. The businesses involved in this migration industry range from small migrant entrepreneurs using their own experience to assist others making the journey, to big multinational companies who compete in the booming market of government contracts to carry out migration management. The commercialisation of international migration is evident at every step of the migratory process and takes place in virtually every country of emigration, transit and immigration. As such, the migration industry is not only an important phenomenon in and of itself, it also fundamentally impacts migratory flows and governments' attempts to manage or regulate migration.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Migration, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mark Feldman
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The ICSID Convention, under Article 25(1), applies only to those investment disputes that are between a contracting state and a “national” of another contracting state. Given that limitation, and in light of the significant and growing amount of foreign investment by state-controlled entities (SCEs), ICSID tribunals likely will need to address one fundamental issue with greater frequency: whether disputes arising from SCE investments constitute investor-state disputes falling within, or state-to-state disputes falling outside of, the scope of the ICSID Convention.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major problems of the eurozone is the divergence of the competitive positions that have built up since the early 2000s. This divergence has led to major imbalances in the eurozone where the countries that have seen their competitive positions deteriorate (mainly the so - called ' PIIGS ' – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain ) have accumulated large current account deficits and thus external indebtedness, matched by current account surpluses of the countries that have improved their competitive positions (mainly Germany).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Lax financial conditions can foster credit booms. The global credit boom of the last decade led to large capital flows across the world, including large movements of resources from the Northern countries of the euro area towards the Southern part. Since the start of the crisis and more markedly after 2009, these flows have suddenly stopped, creating severe adjustment pressures. This paper argues that, at this point, the common monetary policy can only try to mitigate the unavoidable adjustment by maintaining overall financial stability. The challenge is to strike a delicate balance between providing liquidity for solvent institutions while keeping the overall pressure on for a rapid correction of the imbalances.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Spain faces high unemployment and slow growth. This paper focuses on an important source of those problems, namely its housing market. While some adjustment has occurred since Spain's housing bubble burst in 2008, the authors find that house prices and construction need to decrease more to slow Spain's unsustainable accumulation of foreign debt.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Author: Sally Trethewie
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies
  • Abstract: In 2010, it was proposed that Singapore consider hosting an international rice futures market, with cited benefits being enhanced price discovery and price stabilisation. The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies hosted an Expert Working Group Meeting in Singapore in March 2012 to discuss the feasibility of this proposal. The market conditions of the Southeast Asian rice sector are seen as an impediment to the operation of an international futures contract, although opinion is divided as to the degree that these conditions would affect a contract. Whether feasible or not, the proposal for a rice futures market raises several issues related to the region's food security, in particular, the potential impact of futures trading on rice price volatility and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. This NTS Policy Brief provides a summary of these issues and presents considerations for Southeast Asian policymakers.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This is a reply to Francisco Sercovich's commentary on my Perspective on FDI-led industrial takeoff in which I described foreign direct investment (FDI) as an ignition for catch-up industrialization. He emphasized "the rich and nuanced variety of strategic options" (e.g., S policies, engineering education, chaebol-type enterprises for technology absorption, R capabilities), which are, however, relevant only to higher-stages of catch-up, but notto the kick-off stage with which my previous Perspective was concerned. Economic development derives from structural changes at different stages of growth, requiring stages-focused strategies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Jane Nakano
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The United States, Japan, and the European Union—the three key consumers of Chinese rare earth materials—formally complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in March about Chinese restrictions on its rare earth exports. Several weeks later, China announced the establishment of a 150-plus member association with the official aim of promoting sustainable development within this sector. Some analysts wonder if this is part of a Chinese plan to circumvent international complaints by instituting an oligopolistic arrangement to control its rare earth exports. Others ask if this could be another step in an escalating dispute with China over the global supply of rare earth materials.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: In a recent online article in Foreignpolicy.com, regular columnist and head of the Economic Strategy Institute, Clyde Prestowitz, argued that the next president of the World Bank should be Zhou Xiaochuan, Chairman of the People's Bank of China. For Prestowitz, it was not just Zhou's excellent credentials that made him ideal for the position, but also the fact that he is Chinese. China is accurately accused of “gaming” the global economic liberal order through its currency policies, restricted market access for outside firms and governments, and internal intervention in the economy to the detriment of foreign firms. But Prestowitz believes that such an appointment would significantly encourage China to behave as a “responsible stakeholder.” Behind this thinking is the argument that the more power, prestige, and authority China accumulates within the existing order, the more liberal Chinese economic policies will become.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Michael McConnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: ASEAN countries have long been an important international market for US agricultural exports. The United States, in 2011, exported almost $9.6 billion of agricultural products to ASEAN, making it the sixth-largest export destination for US farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses—behind Japan ($14 billion) and just behind the European Union ($9.6 billion), but well ahead of South Korea ($7 billion). Moreover, the value of agricultural trade between the United States and ASEAN almost doubled between 2007 and 2011, with the top four ASEAN markets in 2011 for the United States being Indonesia ($2.8 billion), the Philippines ($2.1 billion), Vietnam ($1.7 billion), and Thailand ($1.3 billion). With a population of 614 million and strong economic growth, it is expected that ASEAN will continue to be an important market for US agricultural products. However, the United States is likely to face increasing competition, particularly from China, Australia, and New Zealand, all of which have free trade agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Demographics, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, East Asia, South Korea, Australia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand
  • Author: Timo korkeamäki
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The costs of euro membership have been a topic of lively political debate in recent years, and they have received ample media attention. In contrast, numerical estimates on the benefits of the euro have been practically non-existent. While the corporate benefits of the euro have been widely documented in the academic literature, the practical value of those publications has suffered from their technical complexity. Several experts have linked the fast growth of corporate bond markets in Europe since 1999 to the introduction of the euro. With growing arm's length credit markets in Europe, companies' access to financing has improved significantly. Companies from countries with small and unstable legacy currencies, such as Finland, have benefited comparably more from the widened financial markets. The cost savings due to the lowered cost of debt are non-trivial. For a set of large Finnish companies alone, the narrowing spread between their interest expenses and those of their German counterparties has resulted in after-tax cost savings of over €400 million each year. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark may have received some free-rider benefits while staying outside the currency union. However, it is difficult to estimate whether such benefits would have been obtainable had Finland chosen to keep its own currency. Reductions in the cost of financing should increase companies' ability to invest, and thus these savings are likely to have multiplicative effects on the economy for years to come.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Arms Trade Treaty is a potential ground-breaking humanitarian treaty that would regulate the international trade in conventional weapons. The Treaty will be negotiated at a United Nations conference in New York Between July 2-27. There is currently no effective international legislation on the global arms trade. While there are treaties on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons there is nothing on the weapons that kill people every day. Patchy, diverse and often completely absent, national regulations are inadequate with the increasingly globalized nature of the arms trade. Arms companies, operating from an increasing number of locations, now source components from across the world. Their products are often assembled in countries with lax controls on where they end up, hence the need for truly global rules which reflect the nature of the trade.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Globalization, Markets, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Ben Murphy, Deepayan BasuRay
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Guns are useless without bullets. An Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that does not control ammunition will not achieve its purposes. Ammunition is bigger business than weapons, with twelve billion bullets produced each year – nearly two bullets for every person in the world. The global trade in ammunition for small arms and light weapons is worth more than the trade in firearms and light weapons themselves: an estimated $4.3bn a year. An ATT that does not cover ammunition will fail to achieve what it has set out to do – that is, to help prevent human suffering, armed conflict, and serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Several countries are arguing that ammunition should be excluded from the ATT. Some of these countries say the sheer volume of trade makes it too difficult to monitor. This would be a colossal mistake. There are already several ways to track ammunition transfers. Inclusion in the ATT would significantly strengthen these mechanisms and the resolve to implement them. Failure would undermine what best practice already exists.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Globalization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Sasanka Thilakasiri, Rob Nash, Anne Perrault
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This issue briefing highlights the increasing use by development finance institutions of financial intermediaries to channel their funding. It identifies features of this lending and the implications for affected communities' access to land and resources. It also provides recommendations for addressing concerns related to these investments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Author: Stephen Cockburn
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Ever since the first warnings of drought and poor harvests in Africa's Sahel region emerged in late 2011, vulnerable communities in many areas of the region have been threatened by a looming food crisis. That crisis is now real, and 18.4 million people in nine countries are vulnerable to its impact. Food stocks have already run out for some communities, and are running dangerously low for others. Support to protect lives and livelihoods is urgently needed as the crisis becomes an emergency.
  • Topic: Security, Markets, Non-Governmental Organization, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The global economy remains in precarious shape. Europe's debt crisis rages on, and although the euro appears to have survived its most recent test in the form of the Greek election on June 17th, austerity and financial-market uncertainty are depressing economic activity in Europe and, by extension, in much of the rest of the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect global GDP growth to slow in 2012, and while our forecasts for the G3 economies—the US, euro zone and China—are essentially unchanged this month, we have cut our projections for Brazil and India.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, India, Brazil
  • Author: Rym Ayadi, Emrah Arbak, Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Adopted by the European Commission in July 2011, the proposed Capital Requirements Directive and Regulation (CRD IV-CRR) translate into EU law the Basel III standards adopted by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS). Among other things, the proposal increases the quality and quantity of the minimum capital; introduces new rules on liquidity, leverage ratios, counter-cyclical buffers and systemically important financial institutions; and amends the definitions of counterparty credit risk and rules for the banking book. The rules complement the earlier amendments that strengthened the capital and disclosure requirements for the trading book and resecuritization instruments as well as requirements to ensure that remuneration policies do not lead to excessive risk-taking.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe