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Trade

How are trade tensions affecting developing countries?

Caroline Freund's picture
The trade war between China and the United States is hurting consumers and producers in both countries.  As two recent papers show, US consumers are facing significantly higher prices as a result of the tariffs. In addition, producers are losing foreign sales as demand for the targeted goods declines.  
 

How can countries better manage investment risks along the BRI?

Trang Tran's picture
Investors want to ensure that their investment will be subject to predictable and stable rules and are well-protected from arbitrary government conduct. One fundamental set of tools that governments often use is to provide explicit protection for investments through investment treaties and laws.

Leave your hammocks at home: How a customs union between Guatemala and Honduras cut trade times from 10 hours to 15 minutes

Bill Gain's picture


As recently as 2017, cargo truck drivers bringing shipments of goods across the border of Guatemala and Honduras often brought along one unexpected item: a hammock. This is because clearing customs and traveling one kilometer between the two countries could take up to 10 hours. While waiting in line, drivers would need to take a break.

Is a Green Belt and Road feasible? How to mitigate the environmental risk of BRI Infrastructure Project

Elizabeth Losos's picture

China has assured the world that its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be green
. While broad polices have been proposed to support this pledge, there is little evidence of project guidance or implementation. Given the history of negative environmental impacts from large infrastructure projects across the globe, the expansion of transportation infrastructure planned under BRI is worrisome. To clarify environmental risks from BRI road and rail development and examine best practices to address risks, researchers from Duke University have produced the working paper Reducing Environmental Risks from BRI Investments in Transportation Infrastructure.

Hurry up! How the Belt and Road Initiative changes trade times and trade

Nadia Rocha's picture

When it comes to trade, speed is of the essence. This is especially true for developing countries integrating with global markets. When goods and inputs are time sensitive, delays can be particularly costly. For this reason, the time it takes to get goods from one place to another – trading times – is a key variable determining how successful a country will be in global markets.

How much will the Belt and Road Initiative reduce trade costs?

Michele Ruta's picture
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy proposed by China to improve cooperation on a trans-continental scale. The range of projects and activities that will be part of the BRI is very wide, including policy coordination, infrastructure, trade and investment, financial and people-to-people exchanges. But a key goal of the Initiative is to boost connectivity and reduce trade costs through new and improved transport infrastructure projects.
 

Foreign investment growth in the Belt and Road economies

Maggie Xiaoyang Chen's picture
A major objective of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to reduce the time and cost it takes to transport goods and people across BRI economies. Many of these countries face serious gaps in infrastructure, especially related to trade and investment.
 
Traveling on a rural highway in Kazakhstan. PhotoCredit: Kubat Sydykov / World Bank 

Six corridors of integration: Connectivity along the overland corridors of the Belt and Road Initiative

Charles Kunaka's picture
The six land corridors that are the “Belt” part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) connect more than sixty countries, a number that keeps growing as more and more countries join. However, even as the initiative progresses, there are still open questions as to what each participating country will gain from the initiative.
 

Beyond infrastructure: trade facilitation priorities for the Belt and Road Initiative

Marcus Bartley Johns's picture
Countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative face a major challenge in facilitating trade. While large investments in trade-related infrastructure capture global headlines, transaction costs generated by inefficient border clearance and trade-related regulatory requirements are one of the major policy risks facing the BRI.
 

How to measure trade protection?

Caroline Freund's picture

What is the best single measure of a country’s import tariffs? As we know, countries don’t have a single tariff, but a landscape of tariffs and other trade barriers. For comparison purposes, it is useful to distill the array of tariffs down to a single number.

In terms of tariffs, there are two common ones: the simple average Most Favored Nation (MFN) applied tariff and the weighted average MFN applied tariff. (MFN is the tariff that WTO members and other favored partners receive.) Neither is perfect.

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