altHao Shao, lecturer at Chinese Vi affiliate member, the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE), worked on the identification of topical issues in the trade policy area which could be addressed using quantitative methods during his Vi fellowship, March 19 to April 25.

An engineer with a PhD in Computer Sciences, Hao now teaches at SUIBE's School of WTO Research & Education, and seeks to leverage his information technology expertise for the analysis of economic policy.

"I believe the experience is of great significance to my future research," he said.

Mentored by Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, Hao became familiar with quantitative analysis methods, such as the gravity and the computable general equilibrium models, as well as key datasets and sources.

During his stay, the Vi arranged meetings with experts from UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, and Division on Globalization and Development Strategies. He also learned from specialists at the WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division, and attended presentations of the International Trade Centre's market research and analysis tools, which provide data on trade flows and trade policy instruments used by different countries. Hao also had the opportunity to establish contact with representatives of the permanent mission of the People's Republic of China in Geneva.

By the end of the fellowship, Hao had gained a much better understanding of international economics and trade policy. With regard to his future research orientation, one idea he brings back home is to use the gravity model to assess the potential impact of, for instance, China's joining the WTO's Information Technology Agreement on FDI inflows. Another approach he may wish to consider is to use GTAP to predict if a specific trade-related agreement would bring advantages for China.