A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

Vi Quarterly Newsletter

 

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Issue #37 - June 2013 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter

 

>_NEWS  
 
 

Second quarter brings eight new members to the Vi network
The reach of the Virtual Institute extended to three more countries, as universities in the Gambia, Togo and the United Kingdom became the newest core members of the network. This quarter also saw the expansion of the representation of Bangladesh, Colombia, Russia and Switzerland, as new affiliate members and think tanks joined the ranks of the now 94 Vi academic institutions.

Gambia

The University of the Gambia (UTG), the Virtual Institute's 44th core university member, and the ninth academic institution to represent a Least Developed Country in the network, joined April 15.

UTG's Department of Economics and Management offers a Bachelor's degree in Economics and an MBA conducted in distance-learning mode. The current areas of research at the Department include foreign direct investment and regional integration.

The cooperation with the Vi at UTG will be coordinated by Momodou Jatta, who has a Master's degree in Public Sector Administration and is responsible for courses on principles of economics and introduction to public administration. Also joining are Momodou Mustapha Fanneh, Yaya S. Jallow and Christopher Belford.

Togo

On April 25, the Université de Lomé (UL) became the 10th Vi university from an LDC, and the 19th institution from the Francophonie in the network.

UL's Faculty of Economics and Management (FASEG) offers undergraduate programmes in economic analysis and policy, international economics and development economics, as well as Master's programmes in international economics and development economics. The faculty intends to develop a PhD research programme in this area. FASEG has also established a Centre for training and research in economics and management in order to foster basic and applied research, and provide advisory services in economics and management.

Anani Nourredine Mensah, FASEG's first vice-dean in charge of academic affair has been appointed Vi member coordinator. Holder of PhDs in international economics and in money and finance, he teaches courses on microeconomics, international trade, and on natural resources and economic development. His main areas of research interest are commodities (phosphates, cotton, cocoa) and monetary policy. Also involved in Vi activities are Aimé Tchabouré Gogue and Yawovi A. Kpedu.

SOAS

The School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London (SOAS), the Vi's first member from the United Kingdom, joined April 12.

SOAS' Faculty of Law and Social Sciences offers undergraduate, graduate and MPhil/PhD programmes in development economics; development studies; economics; environment and development economics; finance and development; global energy and climate policy; globalization and development; globalization and multinational corporations; migration, mobility and development; and political economy of development. Its research aims to combine regional knowledge and expertise with global issues in economics, political economy and law, with emphasis on interdisciplinarity and cultural understanding.

Former UNCTAD colleague and currently professor of political economy at SOAS's Department of Development Studies, Alfredo Saad Filho, will coordinate the Vi's cooperation with SOAS. Holder of a PhD in economics, his research interests include the political economy of development, industrial policy, inflation and stabilization, and the political economy of democracy.

Javeriana

Affiliate member, the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ), became the 17th institution from Colombia to join the Vi network on April 10.

PUJ's Faculty of Economics and Management offers an undergraduate programme in business administration and a graduate programme in international management, ranked among the top 200 programmes in this area worldwide. The Faculty has established research groups covering industrial policy, clusters, value chains, innovation systems, internationalization of companies, and technological development; corporate social responsibility and organizational change; and financial investment decisions, corporate governance and financial risks.

Vi coordinator, Andres Zapata Eraso, coordinator of the International Business Area of the Department of Business Administration, teaches courses on international business, globalization, international management, and international marketing, his research areas include competitiveness of enterprises and economic development, and e-business strategies.

Stolypin

The Stolypin Volga Region Institute of Administration (SVRIA) joined on June10, increasing the Russian Federation representation in the network to six universities.

SVRI's Department of Economics offers a Bachelor's degree in Economics with specialization in municipal management, a Master's degree in Economics with specialization in regional economics, and a specialist programme in customs operations. Main areas of research include development of rural/underdeveloped regions in Russia, cross-border cooperation of regions in Russia and Kazakhstan, and economic and social development of the Saratov region; among others. The Department maintains close links with regional authorities and provides them with research inputs for their decision making.

The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by the Head of the Department of Economics, Valentina Gerasimova, who teaches courses on macroeconomics, trade policy, and economics of customs operations. Her research interests relate mainly to regional development. Also joining are deputy head, Galina Ignatieva, Tatiana Ivanova and Viktor Malein.

The Graduate Institute

On June 14, the Vi gained its first Geneva-based member, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the second Swiss university in the network.

The Graduate Institute offers graduate programmes in international economics, international law, development studies, international relations and international affairs, as well as PhD programmes in international economics, development economics, international law, and international relations. The Institute also runs two-week summer and winter programmes focusing on WTO, international trade and development; United Nations and global challenges; and international affairs and multilateral governance. In terms of executive education, degree-granting programmes are available in development policies and practices; international negotiation and policy-making; and international oil and gas leadership.

Research at the Graduate Institute is conducted through the Centre for Finance and Development, the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, the Centre for International Environmental Studies, the Programme for the Study of Global Migration, the Programme for the Study of International Governance, and the Programme on Gender and Global Change.

Former UNCTAD colleague, currently Professor at the Department of International Economics and Deputy Director of the Institute's Centre on Finance and Development, Ugo Panizza, along with Executive Director of the Institute's Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, Theresa Carpenter, will coordinate the academic aspects of the cooperation. Jasmine Champenois, Executive Director of International Programmes will manage the institutional aspects.

HDRC

This quarter also saw the appointment of two more think thanks by the Government of Bangladesh to the network.

The Human Development Research Centre (HDRC) is a multidisciplinary organization reputed for its research and data collection activities. Research areas of the centre are varied and cover trade, investment, poverty, international migration, governance, and energy, invariably with a focus on their developmental aspects.

HDRC's participation in the Vi will be coordinated by Asmar Osman, whose main research interest lies in the area of development economics, international migration, and indigenous communities. Other colleagues joining are Abul Barkat, Avijit Poddar, Subhash Kumar Sen Gupta, Muhammad Badiuzzaman and Sk. Ali Ahmed.

BFTI

The Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) is a non-profit organization established as a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Commerce and the private sector. The mandates of the organization include policy support to the government and the private sector associations on WTO/trade-related issues; assistance to the strengthening of their trade-related capacities; and serving as a forum for consultations between policymakers and business leaders.

The research agenda of the organization covers topics related to the position of the country with regard to various WTO agreements and negotiations; bilateral and regional trade agreements of which Bangladesh is a party; national trade policy of the country; sectoral studies; and AidForTrade initiatives. BFTI also organizes training on a long list of trade-related issues, going from technical issues of interest to policymakers to courses on international trade law and advanced research techniques and methods.

BFTI has named its Chief Executive Officer, Mozibur Rahman Vi member coordinator. Holder of a PhD in economics, his research focuses on trade policy, foreign direct investment, monetary policy, competition policy, and agricultural marketing. Also joining the Vi is research fellow, Mohammad Farhad.


 

Vi Trade and Poverty Analyisis workshop

UN DESA

Government of Finland

Vi trade and poverty project reaches another milestone
Fourteen researchers from 13 countries gathered in Geneva June 26-28 to present preliminary findings of their research on the impact of trade on their countries' poor. The workshop, an opportunity to get feedback from peers and international experts, marked the mid-point of the second phase of the Vi project on trade and poverty co-funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland.

It was also an opportunity to meet with their assigned mentors, Amelia Santos-Paulino, of UNCTAD’s Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes; Nicolás Depetris Chauvin, of the African Center for Economic Transformation; Marion Jansen, of the World Trade Organization; Alessandro Nicita and Marco Fugazza, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities; Rashmi Banga, of the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes; and Claudia Trentini, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise.

Permanent missions of Argentina, China, Kenya, Myanmar, Peru, the Philippines and Viet Nam also attended some or all of the sessions, which discussed the work in progress covering the poverty impact of policy related to wheat and corn tariffs in Peru; the economic partnership agreement in Kenya; export restrictions on wheat and maize in Argentina; renminbi appreciation in China; rice trade policy regime in Costa Rica; rice and cotton pricing in Viet Nam and Benin; environmental products in Argentina; agricultural trade in Myanmar; the 2008 rice crisis in the Philippines; agricultural subsidies and liberalization in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Democratic Republic of Congo; external tariffs in Nigeria; and non-tariff measures in Mauritius.

"It was really a great opportunity to present my work in this workshop,” said Dahai Fu, of Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics. “I have not only benefited a lot from the comments from my mentor and other participants, but also have learned a lot from the others’ studies, in particular with regard to the methodologies and data issues. It also gave me confidence on this topic. I know now how to improve and finalize my paper.”

During the last session of the workshop, Banga addressed topics related to writing policy briefs and communicating with policymakers.

“I think this session was a definite asset to the workshop as it tried to bridge the gap between policymakers and researchers,” commented one of the participants. “I have learned how to write a good policy brief and understood how the policymakers think,” added another. “I have also learned how to talk with them and present the research outcomes in an appropriate way.”

Armed with a road-map to complete their papers, the researchers will continue to benefit from e-mentoring as they complete first drafts due in September.

 

 

Vi national workshops train 94 academics
The Vi organized workshops on the empirics of trade and on the management of extractive industries for South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana and Bangladesh during this quarter.

Vi national workshop - South Africa

The first Vi workshop brought together 16 researchers from two South African member universities around the topic of trade policy analysis. Led by Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, the training took place April 22-25 at North-West University (NWU), Potchefstroom. Requested and funded by NWU, the workshop also opened its doors to researchers at South African core member, the University of Pretoria (UP).

Aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of participating academics in the use of the Stata statistical software package for trade analysis, all participants indicated that the workshop fully met or exceeded their expectations, and that it enhanced their knowledge and skills in trade empirics and Stata.

They also said they gained additional ideas and data sources to integrate into their classes on the gravity model, and provided concrete examples of how they intend to use this new knowledge in their future research and work for policymakers.

The training was also an opportunity to bring together academics from both universities, who already plan to work together on a project applying what was learned.

Vi national workshop for Tanzania

In Tanzania, Samuel Gayi, Chief of the UNCTAD Special Unit on Commodities, examined development challenges and policy options for managing the extractive sector during a Vi national workshop for 37 lecturers and students of Tanzanian core member, the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), April 25-26.

Sponsored by the One UN Fund for Tanzania, the training included participants from UDBS’s Master's programmes in International Trade and International Business.

Using findings from the UNCTAD Commodities and Development Report, Gayi began by placing the issue of natural resources into a broader developmental context. He then used examples from other countries whose experience could be relevant for Tanzania, such as South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia, to examine the potential role of the extractive sector as an engine for development and the challenges and policy options for managing the sector.

In addition to exploring the possibility of leveraging South-South cooperation as a means to use the extractive sector for the diversification of local economy, participants also engaged in group discussions debating ways and means for optimizing development outcomes from the extractive sector in Tanzania. Applying their newly acquired knowledge, they reflected on an extractive sector development strategy for the country, taking into consideration development linkages and the goals of maximizing tax revenues, reducing poverty, and minimizing environmental damages related to natural resources extraction.

Vi national workshop - Ghana

Government of Finland

In Ghana, Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte provided 19 lecturers and graduate students of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), with new skills for conducting policy-relevant research on trade May 20-23, during a workshop funded by the Government of Finland.

Highlighting the benefits of using the Stata software package to process data and estimate the impact of trade policy, Ugarte introduced the “nuts and bolts” of the data analysis and statistical tool using trade theory and engaging participants in practical applications of the gravity model.

According to evaluation questionnaires, the workshop enhanced all participants’ knowledge and skills in trade empirics and Stata. Respondents also said that they intended to use the knowledge and skills from the workshop in their future teaching, research and work with policymakers.

UCC’s Faculty of Social Sciences dean, S. B. Kendie, who took part in the opening of the workshop, said he hoped to see the trainees themselves conduct similar workshops in the future.

Vi national workshop - Bangladesh

Government of Finland

The Vi also organized a workshop on the empirics of trade for 22 Bangladeshi academics June 3-6. Funded by the government of Finland, the workshop was held at core university member, Jagannath University (JNU), and included academics from all four Vi think tank members in the country and from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).

Led by UNCTAD expert, Marco Fugazza, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, the workshop provided participants with new skills and knowledge on the empirics of trade, with a focus on the gravity approach to the analysis of the determinants of bilateral trade. Participants also looked at the empirics of trade policy, in particular the possible interaction between regional and multilateral trade agreements. Fugazza also introduced participants to the functionality of statistical software, Stata, and highlighted datasets relevant for the empirical assessment of issues related to trade and its determinants.

All participants came away with plans to integrate their new knowledge into their teaching, research and/or work with policymakers.

 
  Software, investment topics for Vi videoconferences with Russia and Peru
A total of 80 students and lecturers linked with UNCTAD through two videoconference presentations of its research on the information economy and on investment organized for Vi member universities in Russia and Peru.
Vi videoconference with Russia

The Vi videoconference held April 4 gathered 40 participants from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), St. Petersburg State University and St. Petersburg State University of Economics, for a discussion with UNCTAD’s Diana Korka (pictured, left) on the software industry, the focus of the Information Economy Report 2012. Report contributor, MGIMO Vi member coordinator, Anna Abramova, enriched the exchange with her findings on the Russian software market.

Developing countries are increasingly making a go of the software sector, if with differing market orientations, Korka explained. India, for example, tops the exports of software at over USD 35 billion, while Brazil, China and Russia take advantage of their large domestic markets. In Russia, the domestic software market grew by 40 percent between 2008 and 2012, and exports of computer and information services generated USD 1.8 billion in 2011.

Government action is needed if developing countries are to take advantage of the economic opportunities of the software development sector, Korka said. The IER finds that limited access to venture capital, lack of qualified human resources and government procurement are the top three barriers to the growth of the industry.

Vi videoconference with Peru

 

On June 13, Natalia Guerra and Ariel Ivanier, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, introduced 40 government representatives, students and academics gathered at core university member, the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), to the recently published UNCTAD Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (IPFSD).

The IPFSD was designed as a handbook to assist policymakers in formulating national investment policies and in negotiating investment agreements pursuing a broader development policy agenda, while building or maintaining a generally favourable investment climate.

"UNCTAD'S IPFSD is going to become an indispensable point of reference in the area of investment policies," said Director of International Economic Negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elmer Schialer, part of a panel of experts composed of Alan Fairlie, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Vi member coordinator; Javier Illescas, Director of Proinversión (Ministry of Economy and Finance); and José Carlos Orihuela, Associate Professor at PUCP's Department of Economics.

"UNCTAD'S IPFSD arrives at a crucial moment, when countries are dealing with a proliferation of bilateral and regional investment agreements, imposing numerous challenges which need to be faced at both the national and international level," agreed Carlos Rossi, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Peru in Geneva and 2012 Chairman of the WTO's Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology, who joined the UNCTAD presenters and Vi Chief, Vlasta Macku, for the video presentation of the policy framework.

 

 

  University members in Geneva for Vi fellowships
Vi fellow, Hao Shao

Hao Shao, lecturer at Chinese affiliate member, the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE), and Henri Atangana Ondoa, lecturer at core Cameroonian university member, the Université de Yaoundé II, worked on research projects of interest to their institutions in the framework of the Vi fellowship programme.

Hao came to Geneva March 19 to April 25 to identify topical issues in the trade policy area which could be addressed using quantitative methods. An engineer with a PhD in Computer Sciences, he now teaches at SUFE's School of WTO Research & Education, and seeks to leverage his information technology expertise for the analysis of economic policy.

Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, as well as experts from UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, the WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division, and the International Trade Centre, familiarized Hao with quantitative analysis methods, as well as key tools, datasets and sources.

During his stay, he also established contact with representatives of the permanent mission of the People's Republic of China in Geneva.

Vi fellow, Atangana Ondoa

Government of Finland

Atangana Ondoa (pictured, middle), while on a fellowship funded by the Government of Finland April 15 to May 24, examined the impact of trade openness on economic growth in African countries.

Supported by UNCTAD expert, Piergiuseppe Fortunato (pictured, right), of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, Atangana Ondoa sought to establish whether trade with certain groups of countries, and in particular products, has a different impact on Africa's economic growth.

His conclusions indicate that trade with developed countries contributes more to economic growth in Africa than trade with Asian developing economies. He also found that trade in manufactured products, highly represented in African imports from Asia, in general contributes more to economic growth in Africa than trade in commodities.

His presentation of the draft paper and policy recommendations on the last day of the fellowship gathered several UNCTAD experts, as well as the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Cameroon, Paul Batibonak (pictured, left), who said he particularly appreciated the timeliness of the topic, and the fact that the Virtual Institute makes efforts to involve academics in this kind of research.

 
 

Vi hosts annual study tours for students from Russia and the West Indies

Vi Study Tour for Russia, 2013

A group of 73 students and teachers from the State University Higher School of Economics, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the St. Petersburg State University, the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, and the North-West Institute, took part in the sixth annual Vi study tour for Russian university members April 15-19.

Experts from UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization and the International Trade Centre (ITC) introduced the students to the work of their organizations, as well as hot topics on the international economic agenda, such as the reform of the international financial architecture, the current state of the Doha Development Round, and the green economy, among many others.

"I really appreciated the lectures and I think this week really contributed to my knowledge of economics. In addition, I got a lot of good ideas for my Master’s thesis and it reassured me of my wish to work for an international organization -- UNCTAD, maybe."

The group particularly appreciated the final simulation exercise, in which the students assumed the roles of officials from various government ministries and agencies to advise the President on the position the country should take with regard to an investment proposal from a foreign company.

The study tour also included a visit to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation, where the Ambassador and a team of trade counselors explained their work with UNCTAD, the WTO and the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Vi Study Tour for the University of the West Indies, 2013

The Vi also hosted the ninth annual study tour for core member, the University of the West Indies (UWI), which brought 18 Master's students to Geneva for a two-week training programme covering international trade issues of relevance to the Caribbean region, May 13-24.

During the first week, students were introduced to UNCTAD and its work on: the CARICOM region and small island developing states; the debt crisis; international investment policies and sustainable development; technology and innovation; transport and trade facilitation; food security and international trade; SMEs, linkages and globalization; and competition policy.

Students also had the opportunity to hear from experts from the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the World Intellectual Property Organization, CUTS (Consumer Unity & Trust Society) International Geneva, the International Trade Centre and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

“The study tour was an excellent exposure to the pros and cons of the multilateral world of trade and its correlation to labour, environment and health,” said one participant. “Trade is dynamic and has implications on multiple disciplines and thus one must be knowledgeable on a plethora of issues,” added another.

A roundtable discussion with representatives from the permanent missions of their countries in Geneva, provided the group with up-to-date information on the status of international trade negotiations and the challenges and experiences of the Caribbean countries involved.

   
Ana Maria Alvarez, UNCTAD

UNCTAD expert guest lecturer at Vi Spanish core member
Ana María Alvarez, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, delivered a workshop on regionalism in the Americas for 30 students of the Master in International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO) programme of Vi Spanish core member, the University of Barcelona, March 20-21.

The purpose of the workshop was to examine the achievements, potentialities, obstacles and challenges for countries of the Americas in their efforts to cooperate and strengthen bilateral and regional integration arrangements.

   
Senegalese Master graduates

Senegalese member graduates new wave of Master's
Malick Sané of Vi Senegalese member, the University of Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, reports another successful graduating class from the Professional Master in International Trade Policy and Negotiations. The graduation ceremony, attended by 1200 people, took place April 13.

Since its launch in 2006, the Master's has graduated about 200 students, 38 of which issued from the professional component of the programme. About 45 percent of the graduates are women, Sané said.

   
Summer reading

Summer reading on its way
Wang Zhen, the Vi's summer intern, is busy distributing more than 1,400 new publications and CDs from UNCTAD and partner organizations into care packs for the 94 Vi members' libraries.

Among the goodies is the just-published World Investment Report 2013, this year focusing on global value chains, the Commodities and Development Report, and research papers by UNCTAD experts on topics such as commodity markets, income inequality, debt sustainability and non-tariff measures.

 
>_UPCOMING EVENTS
 
UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Government of Finland

Vi workshops in Kenya and Mauritius
The Vi capacity-building project for Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa funded by the Government of Finland will deliver two workshops for academics at member universities in Kenya and Mauritius.

In Kenya, Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, will provide training on quantitative methods for participants from core member, the University of Nairobi and affiliate member, Moi University, August 6-9. Core Vi member coordinator, Tabitha Kiriti-Nganga reports a full house, having already received 25 expressions of interest.

In Mauritius, Martine Julsaint, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, will lead training on services trade and trade integration for academics at core Vi member, the University of Mauritius, October 16-18.

 
UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Chinese Vi member universities' students to train at UNCTAD
The Vi will host a group of students from Chinese affiliate member, the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, July 8 for their third annual study visit to UNCTAD. Yan Zhang, of the Special Unit on Commodities will introduce the students to the organization's work across the three pillars -- research, consensus building and technical cooperation.

The Vi will also hold a one-week training programme September 16-20 for students from core university member, Beijing's University of International Business and Economics. The students will expand their knowledge of trade and development topics through lectures by experts from UNCTAD and Vi partner organizations in Geneva.

 
UNCTAD Course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda

UNCTAD invites applications for Asia and the Pacific regional course on trade and development - Deadline: August 16
Vi members from the Asia and the Pacific region may apply to attend UNCTAD's flagship course on international economic issues, which will be held in Singapore November 11-29.

The six-module course will focus on the links between trade, investment, finance and development, and will culminate with a simulation exercise on multilateral trade negotiations. The course will be given in English.

Although the course is primarily aimed at government officials, academics can also be considered.

 
>_TEACHING RESOURCES
 
 
Virtual Institute Multimedia Teaching Materials

New Vi multimedia resources now online
The Vi team has put together four new multimedia teaching resources based on expert lectures filmed at UNCTAD. Shedding light on intellectual property rights (IPRs), the green and information economies, and the gravity model, the videos can complement a variety of university courses.

The first video lecture features Christoph Spennemann, Legal Expert at UNCTAD's Intellectual Property Unit, as he discusses local pharmaceutical production in East African countries, advocating policy coherence in areas such as drug regulation, procurement, trade, and IPRs.

In the next resource, Robert Hamwey, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, takes a look at the green economy: what it is, how it can help, and why it's so difficult for countries to agree on its implementation.

The multimedia package on the Information Economy Report 2012 includes videos in English and Spanish of presentations by UNCTAD experts, Torbjörn Fredriksson and Scarlett Fondeur Gil, examining the economic potential of the software industry for developing countries.

Finally, by popular request, the multimedia resource on the gravity model funded by the Government of Finland and delivered by WTO expert, Roberta Piermartini, includes both the theory behind the econometric model and a practical example of its use.

 

 

UNCTAD Virtual Institute

Vi workshop and study tour materials now online
Vi members can now access the teaching resources prepared by international experts to support capacity-building activities for students from the Russian Federation and the West Indies, as well as academics from Tanzania.

The documents include PowerPoint presentations and publications related to the work of UNCTAD and other organizations, such as the WTO and the International Trade Centre. The Tanzania workshop materials cover topics related to effective management of the extractive sector.

 
>_PUBLICATIONS  

 

COMMODITIES AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT

Commodities and Development Report - Perennial problems, new challenges and evolving perspectives
The commodities sector remains an essential source of employment, income and government revenues for most developing countries. In this context, the report analyzes the factors that have shaped this sector in recent years, and looks into the implications of the commodity boom of 2003–2008 for commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs). It stresses that while these countries have gained from the commodities price boom in terms of foreign exchange earnings, increased capital flows and growth, larger resource rents have not been translated into productive investments in the domestic economy. The dependence of many commodity-producing economies on a few primary products has remained unchanged and perpetuates a commodity-dependent poverty trap.

The report concludes that the failure of the prevailing international economic system to resolve commodity-related problems at the global level is one of the main reasons of this situation, and proposes a number of policy measures that can be implemented by CDDCs at both the national and regional level. These include measures aimed at enhancing their share of the rents generated in commodity production to fund economic transformation and boost economic growth; promoting food security; and preparing CDDC economies for the possibility of lower commodity prices. It also calls for the strengthening of existing or creation of new regional economic blocs and preferential trade arrangements to reduce vulnerability to global shocks and an excessive dependence on commodities.

   
World Investment Report 2013

World Investment Report 2013 - Global value chains: Investment and trade for development
This year's report finds that although global FDI declined in 2012, for the first time ever, developing economies absorbed more FDI than developed countries, with China, Hong Kong (China), Brazil and the British Virgin Islands ranking among the five largest recipients in the world. Continuing the previous upward trend, developing countries also generated almost one-third of global FDI outflows.

With a special focus on global value chains (GVCs), which now account for 80 percent of the value of global trade, the report assesses the possible contribution of GVCs to the value added, employment and income in developing countries and the risks for countries that remain locked into relatively low value-added activities. Based on this analysis, a set of policy measures aimed at embedding GVCs into industrial development strategies, creating a conducive environment for trade and investment, building the necessary infrastructure, strengthening capacities of local firms and workforce, and providing a strong environmental, social and governance framework, are proposed.


 
Shared Harvests

Shared Harvests: Agriculture, Trade and Employment
This joint publication of UNCTAD and the International Labour Organization analyzes the links between agriculture and employment, the place of developing-country agriculture in global markets, and the multilateral and regional frameworks for trade in agriculture. Although the benefits of agricultural trade appear evident, as almost half of the developing-country workforce is employed in agriculture, sometimes the adverse impact of trade liberalization and the dismantling of extension services for farmers have resulted in falling agricultural investment and increased poverty in rural areas.

The authors argue that agriculture is key to structural transformation of developing country economies as productivity improvements in agriculture could free up resources which could be allocated to agricultural processing, manufacturing and services. They suggest that policymakers maximize the development benefits from agriculture by carefully considering agricultural trade policy and its effects on employment within the context of national development strategies that aim at economic diversification, sustainable growth, and social inclusion.

   
Exchange rates

Exchange rates, international trade and trade policies
Using panel data for 100 countries for the period 2000 - 2009, this UNCTAD study analyzes the effects of currency misalignment and exchange rate volatility on international trade, and explores whether exchange rate misalignment affects trade policy decisions. In line with recent literature, the study confirms the importance of the impact of exchange rate misalignments and the negligible effect of short-term volatility on bilateral trade flows. It also provides evidence supporting the argument that trade policy is used to compensate for some of the consequences of an overvalued currency, especially with regard to anti-dumping interventions.

To conclude, the study suggests that policymakers carefully monitor their own countries' exchange rates and those of competitors, complement adjustments in exchange rates by other policy actions susceptible of helping address global trade imbalances, and establish multilateral cooperation aimed at the stabilization of exchange rates towards their equilibrium level.

 

Global Supply Chains: Trade and Economic Policies for Developing Countries
Global supply chains (GSCs) have reshaped international trade flows and have become a major opportunity to link developing countries to international markets. Trade of intermediate inputs has become a major component of international trade and displaced the sale of final goods as a strategy for development. The most noticeable example of this dynamic is the integration of production value chains between South-East Asian countries and China.

The authors note that the emergence of GSCs offers not only new opportunities for developing countries, but also a number of challenges for firms and governments. Reliability and efficiency are major requirements for firms participating in these value chains, and given preference erosion in the past, competitiveness of national firms may only be increased through the implementation of sensible economic policies in trade facilitation, competition, business services and transport. Trade costs are one of the most important determinants in the participation in global value chains and it has been shown that geographical constraints only explain a small share of these costs. Hence, national governments have a substantial margin of action in this area and policies are not necessarily constrained to national borders but could also have a regional dimension.

Following the authors' opinion, least developed countries and other low-income countries may face difficulties in financing such, often costly, business supporting reforms but unless they are able to do so, they would continue to participate in GSCs as suppliers of raw materials and would not be able to move up the technological ladder.

 

Survival Analysis of the Exports of Least Developed Countries: The Role of Comparative Advantage
Developing, and in particular the least developed countries, often face difficulties in diversifying their exports in a manner that can be sustained over time. Inspired by the classical Heckscher–Ohlin model, this UNCTAD paper seeks to understand if a difference between a product’s factor intensity and the exporting country’s factor endowments – or comparative advantage – has an impact on the sustainability of exports of specific products from the least developed countries.

Studying exports of 17 LDCs to more than 190 partners over a 14-year period, authors find that 60 percent of export flows disappear after the first year, and that exports from low-income countries have lower survival rates compared to other countries. In particular, exported products that do not closely reflect the country’s comparative advantage at the time they are exported are likely to survive only for a short period of time in the international market because of their lack of competitiveness. The impact of the comparative advantage (or lack of) on LDCs’ export survival increases through time, making it increasingly difficult to sustain export flows of such products. This has important implications for LDC export diversification strategies.

The paper recommends that governments determine whether a particular sector or product of export interest reflects the country’s comparative advantage. Should they wish to diversify into higher-value sectors, they should also aim at constantly improving their comparative advantage by increasing the quantity and the quality of their human capital, and investing in infrastructure and trade facilitation.
   
Recent developments in investor-State dispute settlement

Recent developments in investor-State dispute settlement
UNCTAD's annual review of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) provides up-to-date statistical data on treaty-based ISDS cases, an overview of arbitral decisions issued in 2012, and a brief account of some systemic challenges.

The 62 new cases initiated in 2012 represent the highest number of known ISDS claims ever filed in one year, which confirms that foreign investors are increasingly resorting to investor-State arbitration. They mainly challenge changes to domestic regulatory frameworks; measures relating to revocations of licenses; alleged breaches of investment contracts or irregularities in public tenders; or direct expropriations of investments.

The review notes the growing importance of public discourse about the usefulness and legitimacy of the ISDS mechanism, especially given that ISDS is on the agenda in numerous bilateral and regional IIA negotiations. It concludes that although ISDS reform options abound, a systematic assessment in terms of their feasibility effectiveness, and methods for their implementation, remains to be carried out.

   
?	Promoting Local IT sector Development through Public Procuremen

Promoting Local IT sector Development through Public Procurement
This joint UNCTAD-BMZ study explores the link between public procurement and local IT sector development in developing and emerging economies. Its aim is to provide decision makers with a better understanding of when and how public procurement can be leveraged for the development of the IT sector in their countries.

Based on a review of the experience of Kenya, Senegal and Sri Lanka, the report proposes elementary measures (establishing open and competitive procurement processes or regular public-industry dialogues) and more advanced measures that may be appropriate once a country reaches a certain threshold level of maturity in its public procurement practices and IT capabilities.

 
>_LINKS  
 
UNCTADSTAT

New indicators in UNCTADstat
To facilitate the analysis of trade flows, UNCTAD has computed two new trade indices: the bilateral concentration index of merchandise exports and imports measures the concentration of trade between two countries or groups of countries on specific products; the comparative diversification index of merchandise exports and imports compares countries' trade structures indicating whether trade structures of two economies are similar. The data, covering 1995-2012 and updated in June and October, is available for more than 120 product groups and over 175 countries.

UNCTADstat has also added a new maritime transport indicator for world seaborne trade, which provides information by volume (metric tons) by cargo type, and country groups and regions. Figures reflect volumes loaded and unloaded at ports worldwide. World data covers 1970-2011; data by country groups and regions covers 2006-2011. Updates are made in December.

Researchers can also access new nominal and real effective exchange rate indices to assess countries' international competitiveness in terms of its foreign exchange rates. The nominal effective exchange rate adjusts nominal bilateral exchange rates by applying weighted trade data of its trading partners. The real effective exchange rate takes into account price level differences between trading partners. The data covers 1998-2012 for more than 120 economic/trade groups and over 175 economies, and is updated in April.

   
ARTNET

Online gravity model interactive database updated with 2012 data - http://www.unescap.org/tid/artnet/gravity.asp
The Gravity Modeling Database from ARTNeT and UNESCAP has been updated and now it includes 2012 data. This online facility allows researchers to estimate the trade impacts of a wide range of trade-related policies, and covers traditional tariffs and behind-the-border measures.

This resource is particularly relevant for researchers working on international trade and using the gravity model to assess the impact of policies on trade flows. Registration is compulsory to access this analytical tool.

   
WTO

New WTO Trade Monitoring Database - http://tmdb.wto.org
The new trade monitoring database launched by the WTO in May 2013 provides detailed information on trade measures implemented by WTO members and observers since October 2008. The information contained within the database can be searched by implementing country, country affected by the measure, type of measure (trade remedy, imports, exports, others) or products affected. The data is taken from the regular trade monitoring reports prepared by the WTO Secretariat. The most recent update was completed on 15 October 2012; the next is expected at the end of July 2013.

Guide to WTO Law and Practice: WTO Analytical Index - http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/analytic_index_e/analytic_index_e.htm
This publication contains extracts of key pronouncements and findings from tens of thousands of pages of WTO jurisprudence, including panel and Appellate Body reports, arbitral decisions and awards, and decisions of WTO committees, councils and other WTO bodies. The content is organized by individual agreements/areas of work, and provides a breakdown by subject matter and by WTO member. This edition the period of 1 January 1995 to 30 September 2011. Subsequent jurisprudence and significant decisions and actions taken by WTO bodies can be found in the Analytical Index Supplement Covering New Developments in WTO Law and Practice.

 
>_ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITIES
 

Universidad EAFIT

Colombian member seeks international relations lecturer - Hurry! Deadline: July 12
The Department of International Business of Vi core Colombian member, Universidad EAFIT, has an opening for a Lecturer/Assistant Professor/Associate Professor to teach international relations courses in English at the undergraduate and graduate levels and to undertake research in the area.

Candidates should have received their PhD (or be near completion) in an international relations-related field and have a demonstrated track record of
publications and teaching in the areas of international relations, political science, political studies or related fields. Excellent English communication
skills are a must; Spanish language abilities a plus.

To apply, send CV and letter of motivation describing research and teaching interests by July 12 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 
Jordan Journal of Economics

Call for articles and board members: Jordan journal
The Jordan Journal of Economic Sciences, a publication of the Board of Directors of Scientific Research Support Fund/Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research and Vi core member, the University of Jordan, invites Vi academics to become part of its International Editorial Advisory Board.

The journal will be published bi-annually in Arabic and English and cover economic sciences at both macro and micro levels. Research manuscripts presented for publication will be anonymously and blindly refereed. Vi members are also encouraged to submit theoretical and applied studies, scientific notes, critical reviews of books published during the last two years, and/or country-context case studies, that provide valuable insight on international economic issues.

 
Graduate Institute

New Swiss member invites Vi academics' applications for learning opportunities
The Graduate Institute is offering Vi members a 10 percent discount off tuition and fees for its Winter Programme on the United Nations and Global Challenges. The programme will assess how major global challenges are being addressed by the international community. The course will be held in Geneva, January 6 - 17, 2014. Applications are accepted in two rounds. Deadlines are September 15 and November 15. Vi affiliation must be indicated at the time of application to qualify for the discount.

The Institute is also accepting applications from university teachers holding a PhD from Africa, Asia and Latin America, interested in taking part in its fully-funded Global South Scholar-in-Residence fellowship programme. Online applications will be accepted until October 1 for the Spring 2014 semester. Junior researchers and women are particularly encouraged to apply.

 
DAAD-HTW

Call for papers on development strategies - Deadline: August 11
Vi core German member, HTW Berlin, has issued a call for papers in preparation for the workshop, “Development Strategies: Country Studies and International Comparisons,” to be held at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, November 12 -15.

Part of the HTW “DAAD Partnership on Economic Development Studies,” which includes nine Vi members, the workshop aims to take stock of where countries stand in the process of economic development, what has been achieved and what are the obstacles and prospects. It will also analyze whether a country has an explicit or implicit development strategy, and what lessons can be learned for countries in similar stages of development.

Members from universities involved in the project may submit abstracts no later than August 11.

   
FLACSO WTO Chairs Programme

Vi core Argentinian member calls for papers on trade and climate change - Deadline: October 28
The FLACSO Argentina WTO Chair Award has issued a call for papers and essays addressing the problems and challenges related to trade and climate change, with emphasis on developing countries and the WTO.

The award welcomes theoretical and empirical studies in English, Spanish or Portuguese, dealing with institutional and political aspects as well as economic and social impacts. The first place will receive USD 1,000, the second USD 500. Other works could also be recognized with non-monetary honor mentions.

Unpublished papers and essays must be submitted in Word format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by October 28.

   
GTAP

2013 GTAP 101 Course - Deadline July 31
The Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) will hold the online course, "Introduction to Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Modeling," October 14 - November 17. The curriculum emphasizes an intuitive and graphical treatment of economic theory in the CGE model, and provides structured experiences in manipulating and running the standard GTAP Model within the RunGTAP software environment.

Geared to advanced undergraduates, graduates and professionals, the course serves as an entry point for developing the skills required for the standard GTAP Short Course. Topics covered in this course include: database, demand, supply, factor markets, trade and taxes. The course culminates in a group research project which provides participants a hands-on opportunity to carry out a model experiment and analyze its economy-wide effects.

Registration fees are USD 1000 for developed country professionals; USD 600 for developed country students; and USD 400 for developing country participants

Applications must be submitted online by July 31. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 
>_PEOPLE  
 
Pamela Tusingwire

Ugandan member receives Fulbright scholarship
Pamela Tusingwire, lecturer in Business Law at Vi core Ugandan member, the Makerere University Business School (MUBS), has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue PhD studies in International Trade and Business Law at the University of Arizona, USA.

A member since 2010, Tusingwire was nominated by the Vi to receive a scholarship offered by core Spanish member, the University of Barcelona (UB), to study in its Master of Laws in International Economic Law and Policy programme. The Vi also provided financial assistance to help cover expenses related to her studies in Spain.

"The purpose of this note is to say a very big Thank You to you and the whole IELPO program at the University of Barcelona for making this happen for me," Tusingwire writes to UB's Vi member coordinator, Ramon Torrent. "(...) It was the IELPO Program that started me on this journey, that opened up my eyes and mind to this world of international trade law , international investment and development."

"Without the collaboration of the Vi (her) enrolment in IELPO would have been impossible," Torrent said.

 
Wang Zhen and Angela Thompson

New Vi staff
Angela Thompson (pictured, right), a veteran UNCTAD employee retired in 2011, joined the Vi team in March to help implement a long list of capacity-building activities, including the workshops and fellowships listed in this newsletter. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Angela worked in the office of the Secretary General and the Division on Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, before joining the Vi team on a half-time basis for a few months.

Zhen Wang joined the Vi team in June for an internship of three months. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in French language and Finance in China and is finishing a Master’s degree in Transnational trade law with a specialization in Banking and Financial law offered by the University of Strasbourg, Tilburg University and Deusto University.

During her stay with us, she will manage updates of the digital library, assist with multimedia development and Vi study tours and videoconferences, as well as organize the distribution of publications to our members. After her internship, she hopes to use of her expertise in languages and law to work in the field of law and finance.

 
>_FEEDBACK  
 
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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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