Last month, the World Trade Organization held its annual Public Forum, with over 2,000 participants joining discussions on how to make trade more inclusive.
Understanding global value chains (GVCs) has become an important tool in the World Bank Group’s program to make trade work for development. GVCs involve trade, investment and cooperation among many countries.
Equipped with unique tourist destinations, a strong national brand, and favorable trade positions with developed countries, Nepal is a country full of untapped potential. But several obstacles are holding it back from being a modern and globally connected economy. Some of these are unavoidable, such as its remote and landlocked location. But others, including outdated and restrictive trade and investment policies, lack of sufficient infrastructure, and a low capacity for adhering to quality standards for exports, could be resolved with a more modern trade framework.
Standards are a critical element of the trade landscape. Standards are regulations set by either public or private bodies (including firms) to ensure that products are fit for consumption, that they meet specific technical standards, or that they can be used as inputs for specific commercial processes such as manufacturing. Developing countries are often hampered by a lack of access to independent and credible inspection, testing, certification and accreditation services – what can be termed the “standards infrastructure."
It’s hard to talk about China today without talking about its "transformation." In the next decades, China is expected to undergo two significant changes in the way its economy operates: a slowdown in growth and a rebalancing – a shift away from investments and towards consumption. China’s current economic model has been focused on increasing exports. But gradually, the Chinese economy is expected to shift more towards innovation and growth driven by consumption, or purchasing of final goods.
Attracting, promoting and retaining foreign investment is a complicated matter – especially for a developing economy. Evidence shows a compelling case for foreign direct investment (FDI): foreign investors can create jobs, bring capital and technologies, create knowledge spillovers, help local companies integrate with global value chains, and drive economic growth in general.
A major change in the way containers’ weight is measured and certified, is fast approaching. As of July 1, 2016, all shipping containers will be required to verify their gross mass before they can be loaded onto a vessel. Previously, shippers could accept weight estimates, but now shippers are responsible for weighing cargo, prior to loading.
E-trade is a huge opportunity for countries and exporters. But maximizing benefits requires establishing smart and efficient policies. Different types of e-trade involve different issues that have policy implications both at the national and international levels.
The evidence is strong that technology is transforming the trade landscape, and creating new opportunities to participate in trade, including for poor people in developing countries.