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  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Abstract: The growth rates witnessed in markets across Latin America in the decade to 2010 pulled millions out of poverty, led to rapid growth of the middle class and helped to demonstrate the promise of emerging markets. Since then, however, growth has slowed dramatically across the region. 2015 will mark the fifth successive year of deceleration in Latin America, which has slowed more than any other emerging market region. With concerns over the ability of emerging markets to withstand a slowdown in China and monetary policy normalisation in the US growing, risks to the growth and financing outlook for Latin America persist. However, as economic recovery starts to gather pace in the region, opportunities for investment and growth will also re-emerge. This report provides a snapshot of the current political and economic landscape in the region, and in some of Latin America’s largest economies: Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Each article analyses key concerns and presents our view of the outlook going forward, helping you to influence decision-making and economic outcomes for your business.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Timmons Roberts, Guy Edwards
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: China's rapidly increasing investment, trade and loans in Latin America may be entrenching high-carbon development pathways in the region, a trend scarcely mentioned in policy circles. High-carbon activities include the extraction of fossil fuels and other natural resources, expansion of large-scale agriculture and the energy-intensive stages of processing natural resources into intermediate goods. This paper addresses three examples, including Chinese investments in Venezuela's oil sector and a Costa Rican oil refinery, and Chinese investment in and purchases of Brazilian soybeans. We pose the question of whether there is a tie between China's role in opening up vast resources in Latin America and the way those nations make national climate policy and how they behave at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. We focus on the period between the 2009 Copenhagen round of negotiations and the run-up to the Paris negotiations scheduled for 2015, when the UNFCCC will attempt to finalize a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Latin America
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn, Cory R Gill
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: It has been nearly ten years since the launch of Petrocaribe, a program designed to win the political loyalty of the Caribbean states through generous credit subsidies to help import Venezuelan crude oil and products. Recipient states have grown dependent on high-cost, high-carbon fuels for power generation and Venezuelan credit to balance their budgets.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Oil
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Caribbean, Venezuela
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: During the past 10 years of impact investing in Brazil, we have observed a significant development in the impact investing space. Five years ago, only a few players identified themselves as impact investors, very few organizations in the social sector were investor-ready, and there were almost no co-investment opportunities. A steep increase in the number of investors and amount of capital, greater coordination among players, and a more professional workforce active in the industry today have facilitated the development of impact investing. This market study of the impact investing sector in Brazil reveals significant market growth. Nineteen of Brazil's largest impact investors, including fund managers, banks, foundations, family offices and others surveyed expect to commit 40% to 50% more capital to impact investments in 2014 compared to 2013.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Giovanni Grevi
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The international system is changing fast and both the European Union and Brazil will need to adapt. This paper argues that such a process of adjustment may bring the two closer together, even if their starting points differ considerably. Europe looks at the ongoing redistribution of power as a challenge, Brazil as an opportunity. Europe is coping with the detrimental impact of the economic crisis on its international profile; Brazil is enhancing its influence in its region and beyond. Their normative outlook is broadly compatible; their political priorities and behaviour in multilateral frameworks often differ, from trade to development and security issues. Despite the crisis, however, there are signals of renewed engagement by the EU on the international stage, with a focus on its troubled neighbourhood and partnerships with the US and large emerging actors such as Brazil. The latter is charting an original course in international affairs as a rising democratic power from the traditional South with no geopolitical opponents and a commitment to multilateralism. In testing the limits of its international influence, Brazil will need dependable partners and variable coalitions that go well beyond the BRICS format, which is not necessarily sustainable. This contribution suggests that the strategic partnership between the EU and Brazil may grow stronger not only as a platform to deepen economic ties and sustain growth, but also as a tool to foster cooperation in political and security affairs including crisis management, preventive diplomacy and human rights.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Yunus Emre
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The 2000s saw a new orientation through left including social democracy in Latin American countries. This orientation was the direct result of the failure of the neo-liberal globalization project. This paper seeks to reveal social democratic trends in Latin America. For this purpose the rise of the Latin American left and basic trends were revealed and developments in Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Argentina were examined.
  • Topic: Democratization, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Chile
  • Author: Richard M. Locke, Salo V. Coslovsky
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
  • Abstract: In recent years, global corporations and national governments have been enacting a growing number of codes of conduct and public regulations to combat dangerous and degrading work conditions in global supply chains. At the receiving end of this activity, local producers must contend with multiple regulatory regimes, but it is unclear how these regimes interact and what results, if any, they produce. This paper examines this dynamic in the sugar sector in Brazil. It finds that although private and public agents rarely communicate, let alone coordinate with one another they nevertheless reinforce each other's actions. Public regulators use their legal powers to outlaw extreme forms of outsourcing. Private auditors use the trust they command as company insiders to instigate a process of workplace transformation that facilitates compliance. Together, their parallel actions block the low road and guide targeted firms to a higher road in which improved labor standards are not only possible but even desirable.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Human Rights, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Angelika Rettberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The involvement of business in peace negotiations and peacebuilding has become a standard concern for countries involved in transitions from armed conflict. This article sheds light on the recent history of the private sector's role in peace processes in Colombia – a country that has been engulfed by conflict for almost five decades. The present paper illustrates how business perceptions and behavior have evolved throughout various attempts at negotiating peace, revealing that both the perceived costs of conflict and the expected benefits of peace play a part in promoting business pro-peace activism. A focus on business preferences is important for scholarly and public policy purposes. In light of dwindling international cooperation resources, it is likely that the Colombian state and society (mainly wealthy taxpayers and the business community) will bear the brunt of Colombia's peacebuilding costs. Understanding when, how, and why crucial allies (and potential foes) of peace processes become mobilized is therefore crucial for analyzing the prospects of durable peace in the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Peace Studies, War, Narcotics Trafficking, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For too long, the United States and Europe have failed to embrace Latin America as a partner in a broader transatlantic community. Modern Latin America, like the United States, springs from a common European heritage and shares the historical, political, and philosophical roots that bind the West so closely together. The region is of growing strategic importance, with its expanding markets, energy resources, and global economic reach. But while Latin America is changing rapidly, the United States and Europe have been slow to sufficiently recognize and embrace this new world, missing crucial policy and business opportunities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Latin America
  • Author: David J. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Mexico's Congress passed its final hurdle to reform the Constitution and allow for private investment in the energy industry on December 12, 2013. This significant achievement heralds the most comprehensive energy reform in the last seventy-five years of the country's history.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Deborah Elms, C. L. Lim
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement currently under negotiation between nine countries in three continents, including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam. In late 2011 three additional countries--Japan, Canada and Mexico--announced their intention to join as well. The TPP has always been called a "high quality, 21st century" agreement that covers a range of topics not always found in free trade agreements. This includes not just trade in goods, services and investment, but also intellectual property rights, government procurement, labor, environment, regulations, and small and medium enterprises. This paper traces the complex negotiations and evolution of the talks since the early 2000s to the present.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Labor Issues, Intellectual Property/Copyright
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, Israel, Vietnam, Latin America, Australia, Australia/Pacific, Mexico, Singapore, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, Brunei
  • Author: Barbara Kotschwar
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In Latin America, inadequate transportation infrastructure has been identified as an increasingly important impediment to the region's further integration in global trade and a significant factor preventing countries from properly taking advantage of the multitude of regional, plurilateral, and bilateral trade agreements signed in the past decade and a half. This paper examines transport and communications infrastructure initiatives in Latin American and Asian regional trade arrangements and finds several lessons Asia can teach Latin America.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Communications, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Theodore H. Moran, Julia Muir, Barbara Kotschwar
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China's need for vast amounts of minerals to sustain its high economic growth rate has led Chinese investors to acquire stakes in natural resource companies, extend loans to mining and petroleum investors, and write long-term procurement contracts for oil and minerals in Africa, Latin America, Australia, Canada, and other resource-rich regions. These efforts to procure raw materials might be exacerbating the problems of strong demand; "locking up" natural resource supplies, gaining preferential access to available output, and extending control over the world's extractive industries. But Chinese investment need not have a zero-sum effect if Chinese procurement arrangements expand, diversify, and make more competitive the global supplier system. Previous Peterson Institute research (see Moran 2010) and new research undertaken in this paper, show that the majority of Chinese investments and procurement arrangements serve to help diversify and make more competitive the portion of the world natural resource base located in Latin America. For a more comprehensive analysis, the authors conduct a structured comparison of four Peruvian mines with foreign ownership: two Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-based, and two Chinese. They examine what conditions or policy measures are most effective in inducing Chinese investors to adopt international industry standards and best-practices, and which are not. They distill from this case study some lessons for other countries in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere that intend to use Chinese investment to develop their extractive sectors: first, that financial markets bring accountability; second, that the host country regulatory environment makes a significant difference; and third, that foreign investment is a catalyst for change.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Latin America, Australia
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, Arturo J. Galindo, Marielle del Valle
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: A number of banks in developed countries argue that the new capital requirements under Basel III are too stringent and that implementing the proposed regulation would require raising large amounts of capital, with adverse consequences on credit and the cost of finance. In contrast, many emerging market economies claim that their systems are adequately capitalized and that they have no problems with implementing the new capital requirements. This paper conducts a detailed calculation of capital held by the banks in four Latin American countries—known as the Andean countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru—and assesses the potential effects of full compliance with the capital requirements under Basel III. The conclusions are positive and show that while capital would decline somewhat in these countries after they make adjustments to comply with the new definition of capital under Basel III, they would still meet the Basel III recommendations on capital requirements. More importantly, these countries would hold Tier capital to risk-weighted-asset ratios significantly above the 8.5 percent requirement under Basel III. That is, not only the quantity, but also the quality of capital is adequate in the countries under study. While encouraging, these results should not be taken as a panacea since the new regulations are only effective if coupled with appropriate risk management and supervision mechanisms to control the build-up of excessive risk-taking by banks. Further research into these areas is needed for a complete assessment of the strength of banks in the Andean countries.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia
  • Author: Liliana Rojas-Suarez, José Luis Guasch, Veronica Gonzales
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, Central American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua—have made significant progress in social and economic areas. In particular, they have stabilized their economies after decades of civil war and the economic volatility that plagued the region through the 1990s. Most countries in Central America have taken important steps to improve their business climates, particularly by enhancing macroeconomic stability, improving the soundness of their financial systems, making improvements in infrastructure services and trade facilitation, reducing red tape, and simplifying their regulatory and tax frameworks. As a result, before the 2008 financial crisis, GDP per capita in Central America grew at an average rate of 3 percent per year from 2003 to 2008, which, albeit modest, was the most robust and stable period of growth the region had witnessed since the early 1990s. However, despite this achievement, Central American economies are still lagging behind the rest of Latin America and other middle-income countries by per-capita growth rates of 0.5 to 2 percentage points. Even more worrying are the levels of poverty and inequality, which show the lack of inclusiveness in their growth models. Moreover, recent developments in the region show a number of red flags that are weakening macroeconomic and democratic stability. Significant structural changes are urgently needed to secure sustained and inclusive growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Déborah Itriago
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Paraguay's tax system is insufficient to provide the resource base to eradicate poverty in the country, and has done little or nothing to achieve a more equal distribution of income and wealth. Two major taxation reforms over the last decade have done little to alleviate the fiscal injustice that is generated partly by the low tax reciprocity of the soy agribusiness – Paraguay's main export crop. Meanwhile, programmes to support small- scale farming receive a level of public financing accounting for just 5 per cent of public expenditure. With one of the highest levels of unequal land ownership in the world, labour informality at very high levels and poor environmental regulation of soy producers, the livelihoods and ecosystems of Paraguay's small-scale producers are at risk. There are serious loopholes in Paraguay's tax system that must be addressed in order to deliver a fairer, progressive taxation system that will allow the country to meet its social objectives.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: More than 40% of U.S. corn is now consumed in the production of ethanol. With the United States by far the world's largest producer and exporter of corn, this represents an estimated 15% of global corn production. A recent survey by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that globally biofuels expansion accounted for 20 - 40% of the price increases seen in 2007 - 8, when prices of many food crops doubled. This had a dramatic impact on poor consumers and on net - food - importing developing countries. Expanding U.S. production and consumption of corn - based ethanol, which has been encouraged by a range of U.S. government subsidies and incentives, is considered one of the most important biofuel programs in putting upward pressure on food prices. Mexico now imports about one - third of its corn from the United States. Using conservative estimates from a study on U.S. ethanol expansion and corn prices, we estimate the direct impacts of U.S. ethanol expansion on Mexican corn import costs. We find that from 2006 - 2011, U.S. ethanol expansion cost Mexico about $1.5 billion due to ethanol - related corn price increases. Other methodologies suggest the costs could be more than twice as high, surpassing $3 billion over the period.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Graciana del Castillo, Daniel García
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: An analysis of trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Uruguay is difficult due to data problems. Nevertheless, balance-of-payments data reveal that inward FDI (IFDI) increased sharply in the second half of the decade 2002-2011 under analysis. IFDI flows relative to GDP rose annually on average to close to 6% in 2005-2011. This compares favorably with annual average flows of only 1% in the decade before the banking crisis and the sharp devaluation of the Uruguayan peso in 2002. At the time, investment in natural resources, including in farmland and real estate in Punta del Este, became very attractive. IFDI flows peaked at 7.5% of GDP in 2006, with the investment in the construction of the first cellulose plant in the country by a multinational enterprise (MNE) from Finland. The rapid increase in IFDI in the second half of the past decade took place amid high rates of economic growth (averaging about 6% a year on average), in combination with an adequate policy and regulatory framework and fiscal incentives to foreign investors. So far, Uruguay remains primarily a host country for FDI, with outward FDI (OFDI) that has been and continues to be insignificant.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Carlos Portales
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Caracas on 3 December 2011, locating it within the current context of cooperation and integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. This new body is based on an agreement that includes political cooperation functions and the task of seeking inter-governmental coordination of public policies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Nora Lustig, Luis F. Lopez-Calva, Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Between 2000 and 2010, the Gini coefficient declined in 13 of 17 Latin American countries. The decline was statistically significant and robust to changes in the time interval, inequality measures, and data sources. In-depth country studies for Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico suggest two main phenomena underlie this trend: a fall in the premium to skilled labor and more progressive government transfers. The fall in the premium to skills resulted from a combination of supply, demand, and institutional factors. Their relative importance depends on the country.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America, Mexico