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The World Region

Rise of non-tariff protectionism amid global uncertainty

Julia Oliver's picture

A troubling phenomenon is occurring in large, emerging economies: the gates are closing. Governments, skittish about global economic trends, are introducing new policies to limit imports and exports. The aim is to protect domestic industry in tough times, but the tools governments are using threaten to make their economic problems worse.

A December World Bank analysis documents a trend of creeping protectionism in countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia – all countries with burgeoning industry. Instead of tariffs, other more indirect policies are being used to hinder free commerce between countries. The Bank analysis, based on World Trade Organization (WTO) monitoring reports and data from the Global Trade Alert, a network of think tanks around the globe, found that the number of non-tariff measures (NTMs) –including quotas, import licensing requirements and discriminatory government procurement rules –showed an increasing trend in the first two years post-2008, and rose sharply in 2011. India, China, Indonesia, Argentina, Russia, and Brazil together accounted for almost half of all the new NTMs imposed by countries world-wide.

The measures take various forms. In December, amid a political shake-up, Indonesia announced its intention to

Why it’s important to “Think Equal” when it comes to trade facilitation

Gender equality can not only spur country competitiveness, but taking this aspect into account in trade related interventions can help obtain better outcomes. Often times, however, it can be difficult for practitioners to understand how to apply gender into their trade work.

There is indeed a gap between the literature and the type of trade interventions that are becoming increasingly important in the World Bank portfolio. The majority of the literature has focused on the relationship between gender equality as outcome and trade liberalization policies (measured usually by tariffs or openness to trade). While this type of liberalization and the exposure to the global environment is still a key area for support, there is only

Shoe Molds and Scuba Divers: How Natural Disasters Affect Our Supply Chains

Thomas Farole's picture

Like the massive earthquake in Japan earlier this year, the floods in Thailand are again exposing the vulerabilities of fragmented global supply chains.

Last month, a team of economists from PREM’s International Trade Department encountered some flooding side-effects during a visit to the Indonesian production site for ECCO, a Danish company that manufactures footwear. In order to transfer production to the factory in Indonesia, the workers needed the specific shoe molds used in the Thai factory. But there was a problem: The Thai factory was under three meters of water.

These specialized molds manufactured in the Thai factory would have taken several weeks to manufacture, which would have further delayed production. So ECCO hired scuba divers to enter the Thai factory and recover the molds. They then shipped them via air to other factories around the region, including ECCO Indonesia.

Shoemakers are not the only businesses with drowned components. Automotive producers are also hiring divers to rescue molds from underwater Thai factories, according to the Financial Times. Honda, for one, has said it will cut worldwide production by 50 percent because of a shortage of specialty parts. Reuters reports that computer hard drive prices have

Small Is Beautiful in Job Creation

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Investing more on roads, bridges and schools is an essential part of President Obama's American Jobs Act. If this is important in the current U.S. context, the role of both infrastructure and education in job creation is even more fundamental in developing countries, where there's much more to be done than in the U.S.

Food Prices and the 7 Billionth Baby

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Photo: World BankTurmoil is not solely circumscribed to Wall Street and stock markets around the world. Volatility is also affecting global food prices, and with them, millions of people in developing countries. So, just as the world marks the birth of the 7 billionth baby this week, his or her family might be struggling to put food on the table.

Reliable Supply Chains: The Answer to Country Development and Growth

Monica Alina Mustra's picture

In today’s interconnected world economy, efficient, reliable and cost-effective supply chains have become necessities in global trade. Trading in a timely manner with minimal transaction costs allows a country to expand to overseas markets and improve its overall economic competitiveness.

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