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Two recent investigations of the 1967 devaluation of the pound sterling concluded that the benefits of that devaluation were delayed in timing and were relatively small in magnitude. If confirmed, their conclusion would clearly tend to undermine the case for exchange rate changes as a means of promoting current account adjustment; it would also refute the previous consensus on the size of international trade elasticities. It is therefore of the greatest importance to scrutinize the devaluation experience of the United Kingdom more closely, so that the right lessons may be drawn from it. A further and more detailed investigation of the U. K. devaluation is presented here. Its conclusion differs sharply from that reached in the recent investigations by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR, 1972) and the London Business School (LBS, by Ball, Burns, and Miller, 1972). It is estimated in the present study that positive benefits from the devaluation occurred relatively rapidly and were large in their magnitude.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
External trade plays an important role in Singapore’s economy, providing an important share of total value added. Singapore’s exports have a relatively large import share; however, they also have a high level of complexity. As emphasized in previous studies, value-added in exports plays an important role in trade elasticities. The paper finds evidence that this is indeed the case for Singapore’s export products. Products that have higher domestic value-added share also tend to have higher export price elasticity. Economic complexity is also related to export price elasticities: higher economic complexity is associated with lower price elasticity of exports. This relationship is stronger within certain product segments such as the machinery, mechanical appliances and computers as well as the pharmaceuticals segments. Trade elasticities are important to understand Singapore’s exchange rate based monetary policy transmission. Exchange rate changes can affect profits and trade volumes differently, depending upon the price pass-through to import and export prices and the price elasticity of exports and imports. The import and export price pass-through can in return depend on trade elasticities. The paper also shows that there is important product heterogeneity with respect to trade elasticities; both across different product groups but also within individual product groups. This implies that structural changes in the product composition of trade can lead to sizeable changes in Singapore’s trade elasticities.
Mr. John Romalis and Mary Amiti
This paper assesses the effects of reducing tariffs under the Doha Round on market access for developing countries. It shows that for many developing countries, actual preferential access is less generous than it appears because of low product coverage or complex rules of origin. Thus lowering tariffs under the multilateral system is likely to lead to a net increase in market access for many developing countries, with gains in market access offsetting losses from preference erosion. Furthermore, comparing various tariff-cutting proposals, the research shows that the largest gains in market access are generated by higher tariff cuts in agriculture.
Kai Guo and Mr. Papa M N'Diaye
This paper assesses the sustainability of China's export-oriented growth over the medium to longer term. It shows that maintaining the current export-oriented growth would require significant gains in market share through lower prices in a range of industries. This, in turn, could be achieved through a combination of increases in productivity, lower profits, and higher implicit or explicit subsidies to industry. However, the evidence suggest that it will prove difficult to accommodate such price reductions within existing profit margins or through productivity gains. Moving up the value-added chain, shifting the composition of exports, diversifying the export base, and increasing domestic value added of exports could give room to further export expansion. However, experiences from Asian economies that had similar export-oriented growth suggest there are limits to the global market share a country can occupy. Rebalancing growth toward private consumption would provide a large impetus to output growth and reduce the need for gaining further market share.
Ms. Yevgeniya Korniyenko, Magali Pinat, and Brian Dew
Anecdotal evidence suggests the existence of specific choke points in the global trade network revealed especially after natural disasters (e.g. hard drive components and Thailand flooding, Japanese auto components post-Fukushima, etc.). Using a highly disaggregated international trade database we assess the spillover effects of supply shocks from the import of specific goods. Our goal is to identify inherent vulnerabilities arising from the composition of a country’s import basket and to propose effective mitigation policies. First, using network analysis tools we develop a methodology for evaluating and ranking the supply fragility of individual traded goods. Next, we create a country-level measure to determine each country’s supply shock vulnerability based on the composition of their individual import baskets. This measure evaluates the potential negative supply shock spillovers from the import of each good.

The proposition that imports provide a competitive constraint or discipline on the price-raising ability of domestic producers has long been part of the case for a liberal trade policy. Even if output in the domestic industry is concentrated among few producers and even if there is little countervailing power from either consumers or organized labor, actual and potential competition from imports are said to be sufficient to discourage monopolistic price behavior. For if domestic producers consistently maintain a price above the landed price of imports (for similar goods),1 they face the same prospective loss of output, profits, and employment as would ensue if there were effective internal price competition. As such, the expectation is that, other things being equal, the rate of change of domestic producers’ prices will be smaller, the greater the increase in import competition.2


The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to provide new estimates of the aggregate import demand equation for 12 industrial countries, using quarterly data on the relevant variables for the period 1955 to 1973; and, second, to examine empirically whether the elasticity of imports with respect to relative prices,1 and the speed at which actual imports adjust to the desired level, are both independent of the size of the relative price change.