Global Competitiveness Report 2019: How to End A Lost Decade Of Productivity Growth

Global Competitiveness Report 2019: How to End A Lost Decade Of Productivity Growth. World Economic Forum. October 8, 2019.

Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the world economy remains locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth despite the injection of more than $10 trillion by central banks. The latest Global Competitiveness Report paints a gloomy picture, yet it also shows that those countries with a holistic approach to socio-economic challenges, look set to get ahead in the race to the frontier. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 666 pages].

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics

The Western Balkans with Chinese Characteristics. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Heather A. Conley, Jonathan E. Hillman, Matthew Melino. July 30, 2019

In 2012, China and 11 EU countries from Central and Southern Europe and 5 non-EU members from the Western Balkans met in Warsaw, Poland for the first time in a “16+1” format to deepen economic cooperation in the areas of infrastructure as well as information and green technological development. The occasion was marked by the signing of “China’s Twelve Measures for Promoting Friendly Cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries” and the official launch of the 16+1. Seven years later in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the format has now grown to “17+1” with the inclusion of Greece. Nearly 40 bilateral deals were announced between China and partner countries, which included the opening of credit lines between the China Development Bank and Hungary worth €500 million, Croatia worth €300 million, Romania worth €100 million, Bulgaria worth €300 million, and Serbia worth €25 million.

It could be suggested that this region was in fact an early test case for the Chinese government’s 2013 announcement of its global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisions land and maritime transportation corridors stretching across and around the Eurasian landmass to Europe. Certainly, there was a strong infrastructure demand signal emanating from the region, which grew frustrated when its needs for new roads, modern ports, and high-speed rail went unmet by Western investment. Having developed the unique, mixed EU and non-EU 16+1 structure, Beijing could claim to be helping to “bridge” the EU and non-EU divide. It also gained a high-profile vehicle to channel a portion of the BRI’s $1 trillion in promised infrastructure investment. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy

Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy. Congressional Research Service.  Rachel F. Fefer, Wayne M. Morrison, Shayerah Ilias Akhtar. May 21, 2019

As the global internet develops and evolves, digital trade has become more prominent on the global trade and economic policy agenda. The economic impact of the internet was estimated to be $4.2 trillion in 2016, making it the equivalent of the fifth-largest national economy. The digital economy accounted for 6.9% of current‐dollar gross U.S. domestic product (GDP) in 2017. Digital trade has been growing faster than traditional trade in goods and services.  Congress has an important role to play in shaping global digital trade policy, from oversight of agencies charged with regulating cross-border data flows to shaping and considering legislation implementing new trade rules and disciplines through trade negotiations. Congress also works with the executive branch to identify the right balance between digital trade and other policy objectives, including privacy and national security.

[PDF format, 45 pages].

Beyond Neoliberalism: Insights From Emerging Markets

Beyond Neoliberalism: Insights From Emerging Markets. Brookings Institution. Geoffrey Gertz and Homi Kharas.  May 1, 2019

Across Western economies, the future of capitalism is suddenly up for debate. Driven in part by the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the prevailing neoliberal economic model—which prioritized a light touch regulatory regime, minimal barriers to trade and foreign investment, and overall a small role for the state in managing the economy—is under attack from both the left and the right. Will neoliberalism be displaced? And what will come next?

Around the world, meanwhile, emerging markets have been grappling with similar questions for decades. Neoliberalism spread unevenly across emerging markets, and likewise many of them have been moving beyond neoliberalism for decades. These varied experiences provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of neoliberalism and the future of economic and political policymaking in a post-neoliberal world. If the Washington Consensus mantra of “stabilize, privatize, and liberalize” has lost relevance today, what—if anything—has taken its place? How are different countries reevaluating the relative roles of states and markets in delivering economic development? Are there new “models” that are generalizable and applicable across countries and contexts? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 109 pages].

The World’s Most Dangerous Black Markets

The World’s Most Dangerous Black Markets: Illegal Trade of Oil and Other Hydrocarbons Flourishes and Poses Serious Environmental and Security Challenges.  YaleGlobal. Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb, Morgan D. Bazilian and Cyril Widdershoven. October 9, 2018

 Prices are climbing for oil, the most traded commodity on global markets and the world’s leading energy source. Much production is in volatile regions, and it comes as little surprise that production and trade in crude oil and refined petroleum products have produced a flourishing illicit market that presents socioeconomic, geopolitical, and environmental challenges, including deterioration of the rule of law. Illegal trade in hydrocarbons also presents a global security concern, funding dangerous non-state actors, ranging from the Islamic State terrorists to Mexican drug cartels, explain Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb, Morgan D. Bazilian and Cyril Widdershoven, all associated with the Payne Institute of the Colorado School of Mines. Illicit oil trade harms producers and non-producers, wealthy and poor nations alike. Despite grave implications worldwide for such illegal trade, governmental and industry efforts to halt the practice have so far been ineffective or even non-existent. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress

Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Rebecca M. Nelson. June 22, 2018

 Exchange rates are among the most important prices in the global economy. They affect the price of every country’s imports and exports, as well as the value of every overseas investment. Over the past decade, some Members of Congress have been concerned that foreign countries are using exchange rate policies to gain an unfair trade advantage against other countries, or “manipulating” their currencies. Congressional concerns have focused on China’s foreign exchange interventions over the past decade to weaken its currency against the U.S. dollar, although concerns have also been raised about a number of other countries pursuing similar policies.

 [PDF format, 29 pages].

The Dangerous Inadequacies of the World’s Crisis-Response Mechanisms

The Dangerous Inadequacies of the World’s Crisis-Response Mechanisms. Brookings Institution. Adam Triggs. May 4, 2018

 The paper war-games crisis scenarios based on past crises to test the adequacy of the global financial safety net: the international institutions and arrangements designated to help economies facing an economic or financial crisis. It calculates the size of the safety net in aggregate terms and from the perspective of each G-20 economy. It explores whether the safety net is large enough, how the different components of the safety net would need to interact during a crisis and how this differs for different countries and regions. For some widespread shocks, the paper finds that the safety net struggles to provide even the same level of support as it has in the past. Even for smaller shocks, multiple components of the safety net need to be coordinated, a process complicated by the differing objectives, mandates and interdependencies of each component. The paper shows how the safety net’s coverage has become patchier, leaving many emerging market and developing economies exposed. It explores what the G-20 could do to strengthen the safety net, reporting the results from in-depth interviews with 61 leaders, central bank governors, ministers and officials from across the G-20, including Janet Yellen, Kevin Rudd, Ben Bernanke, Haruhiko Kuroda, Jack Lew, Mark Carney and 55 others. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 47 pages].