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Mr. Rodolphe Blavy
This paper provides a framework for understanding trade patterns in the Mashreq. An augmented gravity model is used to compare actual with expected levels of trade. Trade barriers, political uncertainty, and over-appreciation of domestic currencies seem to explain low levels of international trade. At the intra-regional level, specific trade barriers between Israel and other Mashreq countries reduce further levels of trade. Quite surprisingly, removing Israel from the sample leads to higher actual intra-regional trade than predicted. The analysis suggests that trade liberalization, correction of currency misalignments, reduction of political uncertainty, and improved trade relations with Israel would boost trade in the region.
Ms. Rina Bhattacharya
This paper integrates a two-period overlapping generations model with a standard two-sector Hecksher-Ohlin trade model and analyzes the impact of uncertainty on domestic investment in the exportable and importable sectors, the political economy linkages between trade and financial liberalization, and the implications for sequencing. Under certain assumptions financial liberalization leads to a movement of resources in the opposite direction to that implied by trade liberalization, thus defeating one of the objectives of tariff reform. When political economy linkages are taken into account, however, the indirect effects of financial liberalization may offset the direct effects and encourage a movement of resources in the desired direction.
Mr. Henri C. Ghesquière
By establishing free trade for industrial products in 12 years, the European Union’s Association Agreements with countries in the Mediterranean region seek to promote accelerated economic growth. This paper reviews the literature and evaluates the economic benefits and costs for Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. It concludes that the benefits could be substantial, but only if accompanied by deep supplementary reforms, including extending trade liberalization to services and agriculture and on a multilateral basis, improving the environment for foreign direct investment, ensuring an adequate fiscal and exchange rate policy response, and strengthening European Union assistance.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.