|Issue #42 - September 2014 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
Vi gains five new members this quarter
Established in 2007, the non-profit foundation conducts training and research in economics, finance and international trade, with a focus on the Dominican economy and public policies leading to the country's development. Empírica also offers a joint Master's programme in economics with Universidad Iberoamericana, and a number of diploma programmes and short courses on economics, finance and quantitative analysis.
Cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Empírica's executive director, Julio Andújar Scheker, holder of a PhD in economics, and specializing in economic development, macroeconomic policies and models, monetary theory, public finance and political economy of reforms.
Next to join was Belgium's College of Europe, which became the Vi's 50th core university member on July 7. The third institution from the country in the network, the College offers an MA in European Economic Studies, which provides in-depth specialization in the economics of the European Union.
In addition to maintaining an extensive research programme, the College engages in academic cooperation projects, among them the development of a Master’s in regulation and competition at Vi core member, the University of Jordan, and a Master’s in European politics and policies at Vi affiliate member, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Vi member coordinator, Nadir Preziosi, has a Master’s in economics and is currently undertaking PhD studies in international trade and applied economics.
Established in 2005, ZAOU offers undergraduate degrees in development studies, public administration and business, as well as an MBA and an MA in Trade, Development and International Relations, designed with assistance from the Vi in 2012.
Founded in 1964, the university offers Bachelor's programmes in economics, finance and international business, and in business and international relations, a graduate certificate in finance, and a Master's degree in development studies. Its research activities are coordinated through the Centre for Development and Regional Studies and the Economy and Human Development group.
Vi coordinator, Adriana Patricia López, Dean of the School of Economic and Social Sciences, specializes in public policy and institutional economics.
Established in 1963 by the Government of India, IIFT offers MBA and PhD programmes in international business, as well as executive post-graduate diplomas in international marketing, industrial marketing, and capital and financial markets. The Institute also provides policy inputs on foreign trade to the government, and consultancy services to international organizations and other institutions through its Centre for WTO Studies, Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises Studies, and Centre for International Trade in Technology.
Vi coordinator, Rakesh Mohan Joshi is Chairman of the Institute's International Cooperation & Research and teaches courses on international business, international marketing and marketing research, and international brand management. His research interests cover globalization and its implications, global business strategy, and strategy for emerging markets, among others.
Vi seminar communicates results of research on trade and poverty
The case studies were developed by researchers from 10 developing and transition countries in cooperation with national policymakers. The researchers were selected from the top graduates of the 2012 Vi online course on trade and poverty, and received training, mentoring and funding through a Vi project funded by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland.
The first session of the seminar, chaired by project mentor, Amelia Santos Paulino, of UNCTAD’s Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, looked at case studies on Argentina and Benin. Argentinian researcher, Paula Calvo, of Universidad de San Andrés, and Raúl Auger, of the National Senate of Argentina, presented a paper examining the effect of wheat policy measures implemented between 2002 and 2007 on the welfare of urban households in their country. Benin’s Didier Yélognissè Alia and policymaker partner, Epiphane Adjovi, of Benin’s Projet de Renforcement des Capacités en Conception et Analyse des Politiques de Développement, presented a paper assessing whether higher cotton prices can improve the livelihoods of their country's farmers.
The morning session of day 2, chaired by Vi trade and poverty online course author and project mentor, Nicolás Depetris Chauvin, was dedicated to presentations by researchers from Costa Rica, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Carlos Umaña, of Academia de Centroamerica, and policymaker partner, Henry Benavidez, of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, presented research on whether the free trade agreement between Central America, the United States and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR), would benefit poor households in Costa Rica. Marjan Petreski, of Vi core member, the University American College Skopje, was joined by policymaker partner, Nikica Mojsoska Blazhevski, Advisor to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, to discuss a proposal for a revised scheme of agricultural subsidies intended to improve the welfare of the poor in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Christian Otchia and policymaker partner, Charles Lusanda, of the Ministry of Economy, took up findings of an assessment of the potential of agricultural trade liberalization to improve livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Day 2's afternoon session, chaired by project mentor, Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC), considered research on China, the Philippines and Argentina. Dahai Fu, of Vi Chinese affiliate member, the Central University of Finance and Economics, and policymaker partner and co-author, Shantong Li, of the State Council of China, reviewed analysis on the impact of the renminbi appreciation on domestic prices and welfare in China. George Manzano, of the University of Asia and the Pacific, along with policymaker partner, Jerome D. Bunyi, of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the WTO, debated recommendations from a study on the effects of the 2008 rice crisis. Maria Priscila Ramos, of Universidad de la Empresa, presented research on the potential welfare gains from trade liberalization of environmental products in Argentina.
The last session, chaired by project mentor, DITC's Alessandro Nicita, reviewed the work of researchers from Peru, Nigeria and Viet Nam. Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism researchers, Carmen Cecilia Matta Jara and Ana María del Carmen Vera Ganoza, presented research on the welfare effects of lower tariffs on yellow corn. Olayinka Idowu Kareem and policymaker partner, Suleman Abedayo Audu, of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria and the Nigeria Trade Office to the WTO, discussed analysis on the welfare effects in Nigeria of the Common External Tariff (CET) of the Economic Community of West African States. Ngoc Quang Pham, of the International Labour Organization Country Office for Viet Nam, and co-author, Anh Hai La, of the Centre for Analysis and Forecasting of the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences, looked at the welfare implications of the Large-Scale Field Model (LSFM) of rice cultivation.
Vi trade and poverty book launch: Geneva, Medellin, Santo Domingo
The Geneva launch, held September 8, during the Vi Seminar on Trade and Poverty, convened a panel representing UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre, the governments of China and Finland, and academics from the University of Geneva and Dartmouth College.
“The book is a tangible result of a novel way of strengthening the links between researchers and the users of their work, policymakers,” said Petko Draganov, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD.
The Colombian book launch, also held September 8, was led by Vi core university member coordinator, Maria-Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez. Organized by Universidad EAFIT in Medellin and the Trade, Investment and Development Observatory, the event hosted an audience of students and lecturers, and was streamed to Vi affiliate university members, Universidad Sergio Arboleda and Universidad EAN in Bogota.
The launch in the Dominican Republic, held September 10, organized by Vi think tank member, FUNGLODE, was led by César Dargam, Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs and Trade Negotiations, and included representatives from the ministries of environment and natural resources, and industry and trade, the ambassador of the Presidential Commission for the Mesoamerica Project for the Dominican Republic, and other officials.
Academics from Senegal, Colombia and the Gambia in Geneva for Vi fellowships
Vi fellow Marème Ndoye (pictured, left), lecturer and researcher at Vi core Senegalese member, Cheikh Anta Diop University, identified sectors in the Senegalese economy with potential to create value added and contribute to growth and poverty reduction, during her stay in Geneva, June 16 to July 18.
Mentored by Piergiuseppe Fortunato, of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, Ndoye completed the first draft of her research paper, which proposes the promotion of more than 100 products, and highlights the issue of competitiveness.
"Competitiveness is at the core of development strategies under globalization," Ndoye said during the discussion of her findings with Mamour Niang (pictured), First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Senegal.
Colombian lecturer, Silvia Rozas, sponsored by her institution, affiliate member, Universidad del Norte, developed the content of a textbook on international integration during her Vi fellowship, June 20 to July 25.
In support of her project, the Vi facilitated meetings with experts from UNCTAD, WTO and ITC. While in Geneva, Rozas also participated in exchanges with Geneva-based Colombian government representatives to the WTO and UNCTAD, Gabriel Duque and Juan Camilo Saretzki-Forero.
“With the help of the Vi, I was able to obtain valuable information to enrich the book, I determined the topics to be covered, and included new issues such as trade facilitation, which despite not being one of the topics traditionally presented in textbooks, is a wonderful contribution to the publication, as this is and will be a hot topic for negotiations of international and multilateral agreements," Rozas said.
Momodou Mustapha Fanneh, of Vi core member, the University of the Gambia, focused on regional trade agreements (RTAs) and foreign direct investment (FDI), while a Vi fellow at UNCTAD July 20 to August 29.
His paper investigates the impact of RTAs and FDI on bilateral trade in manufactured products within four regional agreements -- ECOWAS, NAFTA, the EU and ASEAN -- and covers 28 manufacturing industries for the period 1995-2004. Most studies so far have only focused on the effect of RTAs on trade or the impact of FDI on trade separately. Fanneh's is novel in that it investigates the combined effect of RTAs and FDI on trade, which may result, for instance, from a higher level of investment spurred by increased incentives due to economic integration.
With mentoring from Vi economist, Cristian Ugarte, and Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, Fanneh undertook his project's literature review, fine-tuned the methodology, collected data and ran calculations, and produced a first draft of his paper.
"I achieved a lot while at UNCTAD," he said. "I completed a paper and almost finished another. (The mentors) and their critiques helped me improve the paper."
Gambian researchers acquire skills in trade empirics through Vi workshop
During the four-day workshop, a combination of lectures and practical examples presented the use of the Stata software and the gravity model in research, with exercises related to the WTO and regional trade agreements.
“After the training, a lot of the faculty and teaching assistants are beginning to have a feel for the areas of empirics of trade and trade policy using Stata for analysis of data,” said Muhammed E. Jammeh, of the Department of Economics and Management Sciences.
Participants said the workshop significantly increased their knowledge of trade empirics and Stata, and that they plan to actively use the acquired skills in their teaching and future research.
“The workshop exceeded my expectations because I had believed that it would focus only on simple Stata commands. I didn’t expect to be able to gain enough knowledge to conduct empirical research on trade,” one of the trainees said.
Virtual Institute Trade and Poverty materials now online
In addition to the full text of the book, "Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network," the site contains three additional studies on Argentina, Benin and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as four-page summaries of each study, highlighting national contexts, methodology and data used, and policy recommendations.
Also on the site are PowerPoint presentations from the Vi Seminar on Trade and Poverty, including those of book editor, Dartmouth College's Nina Pavnick, and those developed by the authors and their policymaker partners highlighting major research findings, and discussing policy implications.
Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network
"Trade policies, household welfare and poverty alleviation: Case studies from the Virtual Institute academic network," the outcome of a three-year capacity-building project conducted by the UNCTAD Virtual Institute with funding from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Government of Finland, examines the welfare and poverty consequences of external trade shocks (such as the price boom during the 2008 food crisis) and domestic trade-related policies (such as the elimination of import tariffs, introduction of export quotas, or the appreciation of a currency) for households in the Philippines, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Argentina, China, Costa Rica, Peru, Nigeria and Viet Nam.
The eight studies collected in the volume apply a methodology using household-level survey data to examine short-term effects of global price changes or trade policies on household consumption, production and labour income, and, subsequently, on household welfare and poverty. Each of the studies contains policy recommendations for national governments, thus contributing to the goal of the project, which was to provide researchers in developing and transition economies with the knowledge and tools necessary to conduct empirical analyses of the effect of trade on poverty for their governments.
The publication concludes that the impact of trade policies or changes in global prices on households is country and commodity specific, depending on whether the households are consumers or producers of the commodity, on how much the prices will change, and on how much the change will affect the wages of household members. It concludes that trade policies alone are not sufficient to ensure a positive effect of trade on the poor and that they need to be complemented by “behind the border” measures, such as competition policy or trade facilitation measures, as well as sectoral policies aiming to develop productive capacities in agriculture.
Studies at the household level, such as those contained in this compendium, can help fine-tune existing government policies, or, if undertaken ex-ante, i.e. before the policy is adopted, serve as useful guidance with regard to its potential impact on the poor.
Trade and Development Report 2014: Global Governance and Policy Space for Development
The report highlights that, six years after the onset of the global economic and financial crisis, the recovery of global output, with an expected growth of 2.5-3 per cent in 2014, remains weak. Furthermore, the policies supporting the recovery often do not address the rise of income inequality, the steady erosion of policy space along with the diminishing economic role of governments, and the primacy of the financial sector of the economy, which are the root causes of the crisis of 2008. Putting the world economy on the path of sustainable growth requires strengthening domestic and regional demand, with a reliance on better income distribution.
Policy space is understood in the report as the freedom an ability of governments to identify and pursue the most appropriate mix of economic and social policies to achieve equitable and sustainable development in their own national contexts, but as part of an independent global economy. The report is particularly looking at policy space in the context of the multilateral trading system, national trade and industrial policies, capital management and foreign direct investment, and national fiscal policies.
Economic Development in Africa Report 2014 - Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa
According to the report, Africa has experienced relatively high growth during the past decade but this has not resulted in more jobs and poverty reduction because consumption has been the dominant driver. In order to reverse this, Africa must broaden sources of growth both on the demand and supply side of the economy and investment. This requires boosting investment rates, improving the productivity of existing and new investments, and ensuring that investment goes to strategic and priority sectors.
The report also highlights the importance of strengthening linkages between local and foreign enterprises. It suggests that more public investment, particularly in infrastructure, is needed to catalyze private investment, and that African policymakers should adopt a more coherent approach to promoting investment in general.
The New Frontier of Competitiveness in Developing Countries - Implementing Trade Facilitation
This publication can serve as a tool for trade facilitation policymakers at the national, regional and multilateral levels in both developed and developing countries in the planning and implementation of trade facilitation reforms and/or tailoring of technical assistance and capacity-building activities.
Road from Rio +20: Towards Sustainable Development Goals
The fourth issue of the Road from Rio+20 journal contains a collection of essays addressing economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development with emphasis on the contribution of international trade. The essays cover the following topics: the role of trade as an enabler of sustainable development and poverty eradication; the place of education and knowledge in ensuring sustainable development; access to water and sanitation; sustainable bioenergy; sustainable and ethical supply chains; and responsible mining.
IIA issues notes: Reform of the regime of international investment agreements, investor-State dispute settlement
The issues note on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provides quantitative information about investment agreements and the use of ISDS by the United States and the European Union. The analysis shows that the US currently has investment agreements with 57 countries, while the EU member states have concluded a total of 1,228 investment treaties. US and EU investors are active users of the ISDS mechanism, together accounting for 75 percent of the global number of claims. The US has been subject to 16 ISDS cases initiated against its investors; the EU member states have been respondents in 117 cases (88 intra-EU disputes). There are nine known claims by US investors against the EU, all brought against new EU member states. The disputes relate to oil and gas, mining, forestry, agriculture, construction, telecommunications, generation and distribution of energy, financial services, tourism, provision of water, waste management, and media. The governmental measures challenged include the revocation of licenses, expropriations, alleged breaches or unilateral termination of investment contracts, economic measures taken to combat financial crisis, environmental and public health measures, taxation measures, privatization-related measures, sectoral economic reforms and conduct of national courts.
Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2014
With regard to trade policies, the report points to a trend of increasingly restrictive measures across the region, dominated by behind-the-border non-tariff measures, many of which have had a negative impact on the region's least developed countries and small and medium sized exporters. The proliferation of preferential trade agreements continued, although there is evidence of a plateau being reached, especially with regard to the involvement of Asia-Pacific countries. Much attention is now focused on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which involves 16 Asia-Pacific economies, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between 12 countries from Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Vi online course on Trade and Gender scholarships available - Deadline: December 1
Funded by the Government of Finland, the course is based on Volume 1 of the Vi teaching material on trade and gender. The seven-week course, scheduled January 19 to March 8, 2015, particularly encourages applications from qualified women and candidates from sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries. Candidates must hold a Master's degree in Economics, Law, Political Science or related area, as well as excellent knowledge of English.
Top course graduates will become part of the UNCTAD trade and gender consultancy roster, and may be considered for future assignments in this area and/or participation in intergovernmental meetings on trade and gender organized by UNCTAD. Top graduates from the least developed and lower-income countries of sub-Saharan Africa, may be eligible to participate in a follow-up regional workshop and mentored research projects.
Candidates must complete the online application process, as well as submit a current CV and nomination letter from their institution by December 1.
UNCTAD invites applications for regional course on trade and development - Deadline: November 7
The six-module course will focus on the links between trade, investment, finance and development, and will culminate with a simulation exercise on national policy objectives and multilateral trade negotiations on services. The course will be given in English with simultaneous interpretation into French.
Although the course is primarily aimed at government officials, academics may also be considered. Selected participants will receive hotel accommodation and sufficient funds to cover daily meals and miscellaneous expenses. Travel expenses will be provided for participants from the least developed countries. All applications must be routed through the member state's permanent mission in Geneva by November 7.
World Investment Forum 2014: Investing in Sustainable Development
The programme will feature high-profile events, including the World Leaders Investment Summit, a global thought leaders dialogue, a Ministerial Round Table, a high-level forum on investment in landlocked developing countries, the International Investments Agreement Conference, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges dialogue, the Investment Promotion Conference and prestigious award ceremonies.
Participation is free of charge, but space is limited. Online registration is required.
India trade empirics conference
Invited are unpublished empirical papers covering the following themes: Empirical Applications on Trade Theories; Trade in Services; Trade and Industrialization; Trade Facilitation; Trade and Environment; Trade and Development; Global Financial Crisis & Emerging Market Economies; Recent Dynamics in Money, Interest and Exchange Rates.
Summer school professors and visiting scholars in Colombia
Visiting scholar opportunities are available throughout the year for those interested in spending up to one year of their sabbatical leave conducting research and teaching courses in English or Spanish in various topics related to economics, administration, business and finance.The university will provide assistance with visa and/or work permit procedures, as well as airplane tickets, a monthly fee and 10 days of accommodation upon arrival.
Opportunities are also available at the School's summer programme, which will take place the second and third week of June of 2015. Applications should be submitted by November 15.
Visiting professors for French university - Deadline: October 10
Candidates for the positions of a duration of up to two months should be able to teach courses in international trade, international relations or international law in English; some French skills are also required. Visiting professors will also contribute to the activities of the Centre de Recherche en Economie de Grenoble.
Call for applications: Belgium visiting scholars programme
Scholars are responsible for their own travel and subsistence costs (estimated at under EUR 1,000/month). However, the college provides office space and access to its facilities, as well as a discount on accommodations in its residences.
Swiss affiliate offers discount on winter programme for Vi members - Deadline: November 15
Geared toward young professionals, MA-level or undergraduate students, the two-week programme explores the concepts and key issues of peace and security, human rights and humanitarian challenges, international development, North-South relations and the future of global governance.
Vi members benefit from a 10 percent discount off the CHF 2,800 tuition fees. To receive the discount, Vi affiliation must be specified in the application form (motivation letter and/or in the page "Indicate how you learned to know the Graduate Institute's Winter Programme").
Applications must be submitted by November 15.
Call for articles: Colombian international business journal
International business journal special edition - Call for papers - Deadline: May 4, 2015
The journal welcomes theoretical, empirical, methodological and case studies submission addressing different aspects that might have influenced the growth and internationalization of Latin American firms.
Manuscripts should be submitted online by May 4, 2015.
New Vi coordinators for Bangladesh, the Gambia and Russia
Assistant professor Tareq Arefin has been appointed Vi member coordinator of our core Bangladeshi member, Jagannath University. Holder of an M.P.S in Population Sciences, an M.S.S in Economics and a B.S.S in Economics from Dhaka University, he has held fellowships at the International Centre for Diarrhea Disease Research, Bangladesh and the Centre for Communication Development and Policy Studies. He has also published several research and scholarly papers on the topics of health care in Bangladesh, industrial policy, and rural agricultural poverty.
Recent Vi fellow, Momodou Fanneh, has been named member coordinator for core member, the University of the Gambia. Fanneh holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Fordham University (USA), an MBA from Rutgers University (USA), an M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Southampton (UK), and a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Sierra Leone. He has held teaching positions at US universities, Fordham, Rutgers and Lehman College. Prior to entering academia, he was an economist at the Department of State for Works, Communications and Information in the Gambia.
Sofia Rekord, Vice-head of the Department of International Economic Relations, was recently appointed as the new member coordinator for Vi affiliate Russian member, St. Petersburg State University of Economics. Holder of a Ph.D. in Economics, her research interests include economies of the Baltic Sea Region and Post-Soviet countries, national and regional competitiveness, and institutional environment of international business.
Eveliina, who began as a Vi intern in 2013, is back to assist with the evaluation and reporting activities of the Vi project on Trade and Poverty. She will also organize Vi study tours, provide administrative support, and assist with Vi workshops, the distribution of end-of-year publication packages, and the development of the upcoming online course on trade and gender.
Cristian, who first joined as Vi economist in 2012, is back after six months at the University of Lausanne and the OECD. He will contribute to capacity-building activities for sub-Saharan Africa and the Least Developed countries, as well as the Vi projects on trade and poverty, and trade and gender.
Previous issues are available online.
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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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