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Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Mrs. Armine Khachatryan, William Lindquist, Ms. Nhu Nguyen, Ms. Faezeh Raei, and Jesmin Rahman
In the past 25 years, exports have contributed strongly to growth and economic convergence in many small open economies. However, the Western Balkan (WB) region, consisting of small emerging market economies, has not fully availed itself of this driver of growth and convergence. A lack of openness, reliance on low value products, and weak competitiveness largely explain the insignificant role of trade and exports in the region’s economic performance. This paper focuses on how the countries in the WB could lift exports through stronger integration with global value chains (GVCs) and broadening of services exports. The experience of countries that joined the European Union in or after 2004 shows that participation in GVCs can help small economies accelerate export and income growth. WB countries are not well integrated into Europe’s vibrant GVCs. Trade within the region is also limited—it tends to be bilateral and not cluster-like. Our analysis shows that by improving infrastructure and labor skills and adopting trade policies that ensure investor protection and harmonize regulations and legal provisions, the region can greatly enhance its engagement with GVCs. Services exports are an increasingly important part of global trade, and they offer an untapped source of growth. The magnitude of services exports from the WB region compares favorably with that of peers in Europe, particularly in travel services where several of these countries have a revealed comparative advantage. But there is significant room for growth in tourism exports and an untapped potential in business and information technology services exports that these countries can materialize through policy efforts that increase openness and enhance connectivity and labor skills. Serbia offers a good example of how decisive efforts, including education policies to ensure a sustained supply of skilled labor, can help information technology services exports to take off.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper investigates the direct and indirect exposure of the Czech Republic to these external risks. The Czech Republic is a small open economy that has become increasingly reliant on export-driven growth over the last three decades. Domestic value-added in foreign exports as a share of gross exports in the Czech Republic is higher than the average share of the European Union 28. Services have a relatively low contribution to value-added in gross exports. Given the high integration of the Czech Republic into global value chains, it is crucial to take supply chain linkages into account when assessing the impact of trade shocks. The exposure to Germany is even more pronounced at the sectoral level. Manufacturing of machinery and transportation vehicles account for a large share of exports and imports in the Czech Republic. Although the impact of the US-China trade disputes on the Czech Republic would likely be limited, a hard Brexit scenario or lower demand in Germany could have sizable effects.
Mr. Gee Hee Hong, Mr. Jaewoo Lee, Wei Liao, and Miss Dulani Seneviratne
Asia and China made disproportionate contributions to the slowdown of global trade growth in 2015. China’s import growth slowed starkly, driven by both external and domestic factors, including a rebalancing of demand. Econometric results point to weak investment and rebalancing as the main causes of the import slowdown. Spillover effects from China’s rebalancing are estimated for some 60 countries using value-added trade data, and are found to be more negative on Asia and commodity exporters than others.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi, Jelle Barkema, and Diego A. Cerdeiro
The rise of global supply chains has had profound effects on individual economies and the global trading system, thereby complicating standard macroeconomic analyses. For many of the new and challenging questions brought about by this phenomenon, such as its impact on the global business cycle and measurements of competitiveness, the answer largely depends on one specific aspect of global value chains: how easily they can re-configure in response to changes in prices. We propose a parsimonious, generalized specification to test the degree of global-supply-chain flexibility. Our estimates show that, in the short run, the production structure is highly inflexible, and that this rigidity has, if anything, risen over time as supply chains have deepened over time. This finding is robust to alternative price measures, including those that account for the U.S. dollar’s outsized role in trade through invoicing. While in the long run all estimated elasticities rise, supply chains remain somewhat inflexible. Our results have implications for analyses of cross-country business-cycle dynamics, the propagation of sectoral shocks, and the measurement of international competitiveness.
Ms. Patricia Alonso-Gamo
Globalization—the intensification of international trade and finance linkages underpinned by economic liberalization and technological change—presents both challenges and opportunities to Arab countries. After reviewing this region’s disappointing performance in integration and growth, this paper analyzes the empirical relationship between the two and concludes that integration is necessary if high growth rates are to be attained and the region is not to become marginalized. It then identifies the main obstacles to the integration of Arab countries into the world economy and reviews recent progress in overcoming them. On this basis, the paper derives some policy prescriptions.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

It is a great honor and a great pleasure for the Per Jacobsson Foundation today to have the participation of Larry Summers. He doesn’t need any introduction because you all know him, and therefore what I’m going to say is going to seem banal and superfluous.

International Monetary Fund

This paper provides evidence that globalization has dampened inflation in Poland in the last ten years. A broad-based statistical and econometric analysis of financial and household balance sheet data implies that exchange rate-related credit risk and liquidity risk are currently contained. Rapid growth of foreign currency loans puts a premium on sound lending practices, risk management, and effective supervision. The many indicators examined in this paper suggest that there exists considerable room for enhancing the flexibility of the Polish economy.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

I am deeply honored by the invitation from the Per Jacobsson Foundation to deliver this prestigious lecture and join the list of distinguished lecturers who have been part of this series, and am also very glad to see so many friends and colleagues.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper presents the views of Lawrence H. Summers on the U.S. current account deficit and the global economy. Summers highlights that the U.S. current account deficit is currently running well in excess of US$600 billion at an annual rate, in the range of 5.5 percent of GDP. It represents more than 1 percent of global GDP and absorbs close to two-thirds of the cumulative current account surpluses of all the world’s surplus countries. Summers thinks that such a unique imbalance deserves careful scrutiny.