|Issue #34 - September 2012 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
| Vi gains three new members - Network spans 41 countries|
Universities in Morocco, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and South Africa joined the Virtual Institute this quarter, expanding the network to 78 institutions from 41 countries.
Morocco's Université Mohammed V - Souissi (UM5S), a WTO Chair holder and host of the latest edition of the UNCTAD Course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda, joined the Vi in July, after discussions that began last year during the annual WTO Chairs conference in Geneva.
The third member from an Arab country (along with Egypt and Jordan) and the fifth from French-speaking Africa, UM5S, host of the WTO regional trade policy courses for several years, is ready to share its experience in teaching and researching international trade, investment and development issues.
The Vi's counterpart at the University will be the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, which offers Master's programmes in international trade and the WTO, entrepreneurship and international development, and in environment and sustainable development. Through its centre of doctoral studies, it also provides PhD programmes, including in international trade. Research is undertaken within 16 research centres, laboratories or teams, and cover topics such as competitiveness, quantitative methods for social sciences, law and international migration, trade policy and international trade of Morocco, and environment and sustainable development.
Azzedine Ghoufrane, vice-dean of the faculty for academic and pedagogical affairs and leader of the WTO Chair team, will coordinate the cooperation with the Vi. He holds a PhD in public law and specializes in international economic law and WTO law. Also involved is a multi-disciplinary team consisting of seven of his colleagues: Amal Maaninou, Said Toufiq, Ahmed El Hajjami, Nabil Boubrahimi, Saïd Radi, Nacer Outtaj and Said Dkhissi.
The University American College Skopje (UACS) of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia joined the Vi as its 78th institutional member in September. Established in 2005, UACS is a private university providing high quality education in business, economics, law and political science, combining the best of European and American educational standards and practices.
The Vi's principal partner at UACS will be the School of Business Economics and Management (SBEM), which offers an undergraduate degree with specializations in business administration, management, marketing, finance, and economics, a Master's in management and an MBA. An SBEM research group concentrates on trade and development issues, such as the analysis of trade and free trade agreements, integration, monetary policy, and employment, often with a specific focus on the Southeast European region and the European Union.
Marjan Petreski, vice-dean for research at the School of Business Economics and Management, and a participant of Vi's online course on trade and poverty, will coordinate Vi activities at UACS. Holder of a PhD in Economics, he is responsible for courses on monetary economics, international economics, international finance, and statistics. His research interests include macroeconomic policies, trade, and the use of econometric modeling. Also joining is assistant and research associate, Simon Miloseski, whose focus areas include financial economics and management, and economic modeling and programming.
The North-West University (NWU), one of the largest public academic institutions in South Africa, became the 31st Vi affiliate member in August. Membership discussions began last October, when NWU's Wilma Viviers attended the Vi workshop on trade and trade policy analysis.
The Vi's work will be routed through the School of Economics (Potchefstroom Campus), in particular its newly created research team TRADE (Trade and Development), which focuses on international trade, competitiveness and development issues. The School offers Bachelor's, Master's and PhD degrees in international trade, along with degrees in economics, risk and investment management.
Cooperation between NWU and the Vi will be coordinated by Viviers, leader of the TRADE team at the university. Holder of a PhD in international trade, her interests include international trade, export promotion, enterprise competitiveness, trade logistics and facilitation, foreign direct investment and regional trade agreements. Colleagues involved in the partnership include: Waldo Krugell, Ermie Steenkamp, Sonja Grater, and Marianne Matthee.
Vi project on Trade and Poverty Phase 1: Online course accepts more than 100
Designed in collaboration with UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities; the Division on Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes; and the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, the objective of the course is to provide participants with the empirical tools needed to assess the impact of trade and trade-related policies on poverty and income distribution.
Part of the Vi’s broader effort to strengthen research capacities in participants' countries, the course aims to support governments in the design of pro-poor trade policies conducive to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The end of the course, which runs September 10 to November 30, will launch the second phase of the project, which will invite top course graduates to submit proposals for trade and poverty research projects designed in consultation with national policymakers. Researchers will receive funding and mentoring, and findings will be compiled into a publication to be presented to government representatives in Geneva by the authors and their policymaker partners.
Students from Tanzania and China in Geneva for Vi study tours
On July 4, the Vi hosted the second annual study visit from Chinese affiliate university member, the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT). A group of 10 students majoring in a variety of international economics/trade and business topics, accompanied by lecturer, Yu Lei, met with the Chief of UNCTAD's Technical Cooperation Service, Manuela Tortora, to get acquainted with UNCTAD.
During the discussion, the students turned to national topics of interest, including environmental aspects of trade between developed and developing countries and the place of China in the world economy.
"You have taken us out of the framework of the Chinese borders," commented a student of international economics/trade, while his colleague, studying international business, added that "It is an important call for future leaders to understand that a global perspective is important for China."
For the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, it was the fourth study tour since the inception of the Master in International Trade programme designed with the support of the Vi in 2005. A group of 23 students and two lecturers joined this edition, involving intensive training on international economic topics of specific interest to Tanzania and the Least Developed Countries July 9-13.
Lectures were delivered by experts from UNCTAD's technical cooperation service, the Special Unit on Commodities, the divisions on Africa and LDCs, technology and logistics, and investment, and from Vi partner organizations, the International Trade Centre and the World Trade Organization.
Students got acquainted with UNCTAD's mission and current thinking on the economic role of the state in developing countries, the development of productive capacities and industrial policy, structural transformation and sustainable development in Africa, and science, technology and innovation policy in Tanzania. These conceptual topics were complemented by presentations on terms of trade, regional integration in Africa, as well as the impact of the recent crises and the commodity boom on developing and the least developed countries. Students were also introduced to UNCTAD's business linkages programme, and participated in an exercise on the selection of maritime-sector related activities that could be profitably developed in their country.
"My knowledge has been broadened and I hope once I get into policy decision positions, I will have the ability to make informed decisions and contributions," commented one study tour participant.
Concluding the quarter was the the third Vi study tour for core Chinese member, the University of International Business and Economics, which brought 28 students and lecturers to Geneva September 24-28, for a programme tailored to cover international economic, business and legal topics of special relevance to China.
Experts from UNCTAD's technical cooperation service and the divisions on globalization and development strategies, trade, investment, and technology and logistics, as well as from Vi partner organizations, WTO, ITC and WIPO, delivered lectures which, according to one of the students, "broadened my horizon and enlightened me for my academic projects."
In addition to the presentations, students were able to walk in the shoes of their policymakers during a simulation exercise which tasked them with advising the president on a foreign investment proposal. They also had the opportunity to visit the Permanent Mission of China, and discuss issues of specific interest to their country in Geneva-based trade-related negotiations with the diplomats in charge of UNCTAD and WTO.
"The study tour really exceeded my expectations," affirmed one of the students.
Vi fall videoconference season kicks off with WIR 2012
The first videoconference, held September 10, gathered 29 international business students and lecturers at core Vi member, Universidad EAFIT, and affiliate member, Universidad EAN. The other 13 Vi university members in Colombia followed the presentation via webcast.
The second videoconference was the first activity organized for new Vi Moroccan member, Université Mohammed V - Souissi. The presentation was attended by participants from academia, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Moroccan Investment Development Agency, and the Chamber of Commerce. Mounir Benhammou, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Morocco, joined Moussa and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, at the videoconference held September 24.
This year's WIR reports a 16 percent increase in FDI flows, exceeding for the first time the pre-crisis level. The increase was registered in all regions, with economies in transition recording the highest growth rates (25 percent), followed by developed countries (21 percent) and developing countries (11 percent). While developing Asia attracted almost two thirds of total FDI inflows into developing countries, investment into Latin America and the Caribbean grew at a faster rate (16 percent, as compared with 11 percent in Asia). On the other hand, FDI inflows into Africa decreased slightly (1 percent), as the strong increase in FDI inflows into sub-Saharan Africa was offset by the 50 percent drop in FDI inflows to North Africa, as a result of the political unrest in the region.
However, "there is a great uncertainty in the global economy, which affects investment plans of companies," Moussa said. The survey of transnational corporations conducted by UNCTAD suggests that there is more pessimism than optimism with regard to the year 2012, with an improvement in expectations for 2013 and 2014.
"We are most thankful for the videoconference this morning," commented Vi member coordinator, Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, Head of the International Business Department at Universidad EAFIT, after the event. "Our students gave us wonderful comments, and they appreciated very much having a presentation from a member of the WIR project."
For more on the WIR 2012, take a look at the featured publications in this newsletter.
Russian member contributes research to UNCTAD flagship investment report
"During the official visit the possibility of enlarging cooperation between the university and UNCTAD was discussed," writes Anna Abramova, Vi member coordinator at MGIMO. "One of the main ideas was the possibility of involving MGIMO’s researchers in the preparation of analytical materials in the field of FDI."
The first product of the cooperation came in the form of a contribution by MGIMO professor, Galina Kostyunina, to this year's UNCTAD World Investment Report. Her research was devoted to the impact of Russia's accession to the WTO on foreign direct investment. Covering the primary, services and manufacturing sectors, with a focus on the competitiveness of local producers in some of these areas, her findings may be found on page 58 of the report.
Vi Colombian fellow back for more trade and environment research
Calle's research analyzes how environmental concerns raised by internationally active NGOs are reflected in WTO law and legal system. Her interest in the subject grew from her involvement in the design of the 2010 Vi study tour on trade and environment for Colombian universities, and the research work on biotrade she undertook during her first Vi fellowship in 2010, when she began to prepare her PhD proposal.
“I get my best ideas here,” Calle said.
Emerging markets focus of Vi members' workshop
Held June 12 to 14, in Réduit, Mauritius, the workshop tried to shed light on what defines an emerging market, and how far experiences of single emerging markets such as China, Brazil or India can be generalized for other emerging markets. A special roundtable session on the impact of the euro crisis on emerging markets counted with the participation of former Mauritius finance minister, Rama Sithanen.
EAFIT holds Asia week
| >_TEACHING RESOURCES |
Vi publishes updated teaching material on transfer of technology
Module 2 explains the TOT process, and analyzes trends in cross-border transfer of technology. The module also reviews the contractual agreements used, and reviews regulatory aspects of TOT agreements.
Module 3 focuses on the complex relationship between intellectual property rights (IPRs) and international TOT. After an overview of concepts and definitions related to IPRs, it analyzes empirical studies on the role of the protection of IPRs in the stimulation of TOT and innovation.
Module 4 examines how international (multilateral, interregional, regional and bilateral) instruments/agreements deal, directly or indirectly, with TOT-related issues.
All modules include exercises and/or questions for discussion.
Modules 2 and 3 of Vi teaching material on commodities just published
Developed in collaboration with the UNCTAD Special Unit on Commodities, with financial support from the governments of Norway and Finland, Module 2 discusses production and exploration technologies, and describes the global distribution of oil and gas reserves, analyzing the features of the international oil and gas markets. It also examines the taxonomy of oil and gas companies and the differences between the operations of national enterprises and multinational corporations (MNCs). Policy suggestions on the use of the revenues from the oil and gas sector to avoid “Dutch disease,” and foster the process of development are also included.
Module 3 introduces the reader to basic facts about mining and minerals, and provides an overview of international trade in minerals and related policies. It also explains how minerals are traded, and discusses issues such as price risk management for metals and questions related to the World Trade Organization. The module concludes with the role of the mining and metals sectors in economic development and a comprehensive discussion of international policy related to mining.
| Macroeconomic teaching modules 2 and 3 just out|
The latest installments of Vi's newest teaching material, "Contemporary Issues in International Macroeconomics, Trade and Finance," are now available for Vi members. Written by lecturers at Vi core German member, HTW Berlin, the development of the material was made possible thanks to funding from the Government of Finland.
Module 2 starts with an explanation of the basic theories used to analyze Dutch disease and the resource curse, citing empirical evidence from oil-exporting countries and country case studies of Angola, Botswana, Nigeria, Norway, Indonesia and Venezuela. The module also discusses macro-economic policy and policy options for effective resource management and for mitigating negative effects during booms and slumps.
Module 3 analyzes the feasibility, efficiency and effectiveness of capital controls (CC) and, in a broader sense, capital account management (CAM). After introducing the key terms and definitions, it reviews the pros and cons of capital control and liberalization, and explains the economic logic of CC/CAM, its theoretical foundations, objectives and instruments, as well as the relationship between prudential regulation of the financial sector, macroeconomic policies and capital controls. In this context, it introduces the recent change in the International Monetary Fund approach toward capital controls. The module concludes by comparing national experiences with capital controls, using case studies of Chile and China.
Eurocrisis and global inequality topics of new multimedia teaching resources
In the first resource, Branko Milanovic, lead economist of the World Bank's research department, shares the findings of his research on global inequality. Beginning with a look at the data and methods involved in measuring inequality, he traces its progression in the last two centuries.
In the second resource, filmed during a videoconference with Vi Colombian members, Alfredo Calcagno, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, examines the dire consequences of the global economic crisis on the euro-zone, and proposes alternatives for pulling the most affected countries from the zone's downward spiral.
Trade and Development Report 2012
According to the report, global output growth is slowing down because fiscal austerity and downward pressures on real wages cause a lack of demand in developed countries, rather than achieving expected results: reduced government deficits, job creation and renewed confidence of financial markets.
After reviewing the empirical evidence on economic inequality in the world, the report discusses the main structural causes of recent changes in income distribution, including trade, technological change, and finance-led globalization. It argues that these changes do not necessarily lead to greater inequality -- their effects depend on the initial conditions and the macroeconomic, financial and labour market policies in place in the countries concerned.
The report contends that the increasing inequality acts as a break on growth, dampening demand for goods and services, reducing educational prospects and underexploiting the talent of the countries' populations. In light of this finding, the report suggests that governments should adopt policies that would preserve the share of workers in national income, which would help achieve not only social benefits, but also efficiency and economic growth. Such policies should include progressive taxation and public spending, and encourage wage increases in line with the growth of productivity.
World Investment Report 2012: Towards a new generation of investment policies
According to the report, this "new generation" investment policies should be integrated into national development strategies, with a view to supporting the goals of sustainable development. At the international level, it is necessary to strengthen the development dimension of international investment agreements (IIAs) and balance the rights and obligations of host countries and investors.
This year's WIR includes an Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (IPFSD), which maps national and international investment policy challenges, defines core principles for the design of the "new generation" investment policies, and provides guidance to national policymakers on the design of such policies, as well clause-by-clause options to strengthen the sustainable development dimension of IIAs.
The tables and charts in the text and the Annex contain a wealth of statistical data about various aspects of foreign direct investment.
World Trade Report 2012
After reviewing the sources of information related to the topic, the reports quantifies the magnitude and trade effects of the measures, suggesting that international cooperation, harmonization and mutual recognition would help in reducing the negative impact of NTMs. A legal analysis of the treatment of NTMs in the GATT/WTO dispute system is discussed in last section. The report concludes with a summary of the outstanding challenges for countries in dealing with NTMs.
Enabling the graduation of LDCs: Enhancing the role of commodities and improving agricultural productivity
This UNCTAD study assesses the challenges and opportunities for meeting the criteria for graduation by 2020. Highlighting the potential role of commodities in achieving growth, the report emphasizes the need of improving agricultural productivity in LDCs. Through several case studies on issues of particular interest for LDCs, the study makes recommendations for action at the national, regional and international levels.
Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Lesotho?
The poverty and welfare impacts of climate change: Quantifying the effects, identifying the adaptation strategies
This recent book by the World Bank assembles the work of six researchers who examine the effects of climate change on poverty, with two chapters dedicated to the study of the short-term effects of weather shocks on the income and health of low-income rice and corn farmers in Indonesia and Mexico.
The authors look at the different channels through which climate change might affect household welfare and propose policy recommendations to mitigate negative effects.
Trade, income distribution and poverty in developing countries: A survey
After taking stock of the impact of trade liberalization on poverty, Santos-Paulino, a contributor to the design of the Virtual Institute's online course on trade and poverty, reviews the literature on trade, poverty and inequality, most of which measures welfare effects through price changes, focusing on the effect on the relative demand for domestic factors of production and the demand for skilled relative to unskilled labour. She then goes on to analyze price transmission mechanisms and discusses the relationship between trade, poverty and distribution in a broader policy context.
This resource provides a succinct overview of the research currently taking place on the relationship between trade and poverty, and is rich with ideas on new areas to investigate.
UNCTAD’s entrepreneurship policy framework
DAAD project announces next meeting
Titled "Regional Integration for Development?," the goal of the workshop is to discuss the rationale for regional integration from the perspective of developing countries.
Colombian core member offers Master's scholarship - Deadline October 31
The scholarship will be awarded on a semester-by-semester basis upon satisfactory completion of the previous semester.
Geneva Institute announces new edition of Master's in oil and gas
Brazilian member returns to classrooms in Mozambique
The product of a call for lecturers issued by the Vi last November on behalf of UEM, da Silva was one of three Vi network members chosen to teach in the fourth edition of this bilingual (Portuguese-English) programme.
On this occasion, da Silva delivered a module on Trade in Goods for 21 students. The topics presented included trade barriers, customs, quotas and other non-tariff measures, general exceptions and exceptions in favor of development.
"Mozambique has a persistent trade deficit and is very much dependent on tariffs for government revenue," commented da Silva. "Teaching in this context is very interesting. The vision of trade barriers is very different from the one we have in our countries."
Henok Birhanu: An academic career nurtured by the Vi network
A business law post-graduate from Ethiopian core member, Addis Ababa University, he was lecturing at Jigjiga in 2011, when he was awarded a Vi scholarship to participate in the online course on Legal Instruments of International Economic Relations and Regional Integration, offered by Vi Spanish partner, the CEDDET Foundation with core member, and the University of Barcelona (UB). He was one of the top graduates of the course, and was later recruited to help moderate the course's alumni network, co-sponsored by the Vi.
"My participation in the online course was a critical point in the advancement of my academic career, as it has offered me the opportunity to exchange views and ideas with qualified professionals in the field and to learn from their experiences," writes Birhanu.
In September of that year, Birhanu was awarded a second Vi scholarship to participate in UB's International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO) LL.M programme, which "inspired me to pursue my studies and specialize in the field."
Advice from IELPO's professors, particularly from Vi member coordinator, Ramon Torrent, led him to Bocconi.
"My application, which was supported by my strong performance at IELPO, was well received by the admissions committee, which accorded me the highest point of admission (first rank) among the more than 140 applicants," he said.
Vi workshops spur Colombian member's publications
"I have had four articles published in 2011 and 2012," Pereira writes. "The one published last week is a research product based on what I learned from a course led by Aki Kuwahara (UNCTAD Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities) in 2009 at Universidad de La Sabana."
Now available on the Vi website, the article, "The Colombia-Canada Free Trade Area: A Partial Equilibrium Simulation," uses disaggregated trade data for 2010 and applies ex-ante partial equilibrium modeling to calculate the impact of the preferential trade agreement between Canada and Colombia. Findings show a positive effect for Colombia, with larger trade creation, and an increase in trade between the two countries of about 10 percent.
"Two other articles are forthcoming," added Pereira. "One uses what I learned from Aki, and another one using the content of a Vi course on gravity models by Nadia Rocha (WTO)."
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| The UNCTAD Virtual Institute on Trade and Development is a capacity-building and networking programme aiming to strengthen the capacities of academic institutions in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to teach and research trade issues, and to foster links between research and policymaking.|
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