The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper assembles findings on the use of trade taxes, examines the main contributing factors, and reviews the fiscal aspects of trade policy as they relate to both efficiency and macroeconomic stabilization. It demonstrates why trade taxes would generally not be part of an optimal tax package, and describes the conditions under which they could be used and what their structure would be. The paper also reviews the channels of the effects of trade taxes under fixed and flexible exchange rates, and concludes that the distortions and welfare loss that they create put them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis other fiscal and exchange rate policies.