A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development

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        Back to Basics: Market access issues in the Doha Agenda (English)
        Report by UNCTAD Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities , 2003, 73 pages
        Categories: Commodities, WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        What: This report reviews the problem of market access for developing countries. It provides an analysis of the impacts of tariff barriers by focusing on the potential gains of trade liberalization and the challenges for developing countries of the WTO negotiations on market access. Who: This paper is an excellent reading for anyone interested in market access for developing countries and particularly in commodities trade. Gives interesting up-to-date tables and charts. The bibliography provides references for further readings.

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        Bargaining over the Doha Development Agenda: Coalitions in the World Trade Organization (English)
        Working paper by Dr Amrita Narlikar, Centre of International Studies University of Cambridge, 2005, 17 pages
        Categories: WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        What: Within the last years, developing countries have emerged as major actors within international trade negotiations. For developing countries with small markets and limited diplomatic resources, building coalitions has often proved to be the only instrument they have to improve their bargaining position in these negotiations. This paper provides an analysis of bargaining coalitions in the WTO. The first section examines the reasons behind the formation of coalitions in the WTO, and the problems that countries encounter in this process. The second section analyzes the development of coalitions involving developing countries from the GATT to the WTO. In section three the coalitions that have been active in the negotiations within the Doha Development Round are outlined. Finally, the fourth section examines the influence of these coalitions and their possible implications for the trade negotiation process. Who: For anyone dealing with international trade negotiations and the role of developing countries within these negotiations who is interested in the phenomenon of coalition building. How: Can be used as an excellent and precise additional reading in classes that are dealing with international trade negotiations within the WTO. Also as a very good reading in classes that aim at simulating negotiations since the importance of coalition building is underlined in the paper. A detailed table on coalitions and their memberships that evolved within the last 20 years of international GATT and WTO negotiations is provided. The paper can also serve as a starting point for further research on the main mutual needs and interests of the various coalitions.

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        Basel 2: The new basel capital accord and its impact on commodity financing in developing countries (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2006, 39 pages
        Categories: Commodities

        This report explores the link between the new Basel Capital Accord and commodity finance for developing countries. It explains the basic principles of Basel 2, and how various mechanisms have been built into the Accord which can, in principle, help developing countries to mitigate or overcome any a priori negative effects. It then explores mechanisms such as structured finance and collateral management which can isolate certain transactions from high provisioning requirements, highlights the critical steps that developing countries and their banks can take, and discusses what international banks and the international community can do to protect commodity finance flows to developing countries.

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        Benchmarking Productive Capacities in Least Developed Countries (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2016, 56 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies, Trade and Poverty, Trade Facilitation

        At the thirteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII), which took place in Doha, Qatar, in April 2012, member States requested UNCTAD to develop quantifiable indicators with a view to providing “an operational methodology and policy guidelines on how to mainstream productive capacities in national development policies and strategies in LDCs” (Doha Mandate, para. 65(e)). The present report, which is part of ongoing work by the secretariat and a response to the above-mentioned request, focuses on measuring and benchmarking productive capacities in least developed countries (LDCs): their current levels; how LDCs have performed in the recent past; and how the productive capacities in LDCs compare with the internationally agreed goals and targets and with other developing countries.

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        Best Practices in Investment for Development - Case Studies in FDI (Canada and Singapore) (English)
        Case study by UNCTAD, 2011, 82 pages
        Categories: Investment

        This report, addressing principally policymakers in the field of investment, analyses practices adopted in selected countries in which investment has contributed to development,with the aim of disseminating best practice experiences to developing countries and countries with economies in transition. More specifically, it analyses the policies set in place by two countries, Canada and Singapore to use Foreign Direct Investment to improve the national skill set.

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        Best Practices in Investment for Development - Case Studies in FDI (Estonia and Jamaica) (English)
        Case study by UNCTAD, 2011, 112 pages
        Categories: Investment

        The objectives of this study are to compare and contrast: first, Estonia’s and Jamaica’s approach to setting objectives relating to inward FDI; second, the methods in the form of policy instruments used to achieve these objectives; and third, the results and impact. This study draws out the characteristics of policies that illustrate best practices, and identifies policies that were not as effective, with the aim of distilling policy lessons for small countries in attracting and benefiting from FDI. Estonia and Jamaica are interesting cases to compare because of their different policy approaches. Jamaica’s emphasis on State planning contrasts with Estonia’s pro-market reform strategy. Thus, this study does not seek to identify which approach is best for small countries in all circumstances, but more about how to adapt general policy lessons to unique national contexts.

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        Best Practices in Investment for Development - Case Studies in FDI (Malaysia and Singapore) (English)
        Case study by UNCTAD, 2011, 106 pages
        Categories: Enterprise Development, Investment

        This case study outlines the best practices used by Singapore and Malaysia in using Foreign direct investment (FDI) to enhance local SME development, focusing principally on the linkages between foreign affiliates and domestic SMEs.

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        Best Practices in Investment for Development. How Post-conflict Countries Can Attract and Benefit from Fdi: Lessons from Croatia and Mozambique
        Study by UNCTAD, 2009, 139 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies, Investment

        The Investment Advisory Series provides practical advice and casestudies of best policy practice for attracting and benefiting from foreign direct investment (FDI), in line with national development strategies. The series draws on the experiences gained in, and lessons learned through, UNCTAD’s capacity-building and institution-building work in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

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        Best Practices in Investment for Development: How to Attract and Benefit from FDI in Mining: Lessons from Canada and Chile (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2011, 141 pages
        Categories: Investment

        The purpose of this report is to identify best practice policies that successfully attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in mining, while optimizing its economic, environmental and social impacts. The report focuses on two cases, Canada and Chile, relying on primary and secondary research, including interviews with some 20 stakeholders in both countries.1 The first chapter provides an overview of mining as an economic activity and the challenges facing host governments in balancing the interests of foreign investors and those of the host country. The following two chapters look at how Canada and Chile, respectively, have addressed these challenges. The final chapter compares the two cases, and draws out lessons for policymakers in mineral-rich developing countries.

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        Beyond the IMF (English)
        Discussion paper by Kapur, Devesh; Webb, Richard / UNCTAD, 2007, 34 pages
        Categories: International Financial System

        A consensus has developed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not fulfilling its role, prompting multiple proposals for reform. However, this paper argues that the focus on reform should be complemented with an exploration of alternatives outside the IMF which hold the potential to not only give developing countries greater bargaining leverage with the Fund but also, by increasing competition, spurring the institution to better performance. The paper argues that most of the IMF’s functions are being carried out in part through alternative institutional arrangements. It focuses in particular on the insurance role of the Fund and argues that developing countries are developing alternative insurance mechanisms, from a higher level of reserves, to regional co-insurance facilities to remittances as a counter-cyclical source of foreign exchange. The de facto exit of its clientele has been driven by the high political costs associated with Fund borrowing and now poses unprecedented challenges for the Fund, in particular pressures on its income. The paper argues for a rapid restructuring and significant cuts of the Fund’s administrative budget with the budget savings instead directed to lower the interest rates charged to borrowers.

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        The Big (Data) Bang: What Will It Mean for Compiling Sdg Indicators? (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2018, 31 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies

        This paper outlines the opportunities, challenges and governance issues involved with big data from the perspective of producing SDG indicators. In particular, the paper will examine some of the challenges surrounding access, and for confidentiality and privacy.

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        Big Dragon, Little Dragons: China's Challenge to the Machinery Exports of Southeast Asia (English)
        Working paper by Rahardja, Sjamsu /World Bank, 2007, 42 pages
        Categories: Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

        This paper investigates the extent of China's export boom in machinery and analyzes trade in components and finished machinery between China and Southeast Asia. China has increased its world market share in machinery exports. The median relative unit value of its finished machinery exports has also risen. Yet the author finds no evidence that China's expansion in the world machinery market has squeezed the market shares of Southeast Asian machinery exports. Instead, components made by Southeast Asian countries are increasing in unit value and gaining market share in China.

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        Biodiversity and Trade: Promoting Sustainable Use Through Business Engagement (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2014, 32 pages
        Categories: Commodities, Trade Facilitation, Trade Related Capacity Building

        This paper reports on the key discussion points and presentations at the III Biotrade Congress held by the International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities Division in the Republic of Korea in 2014. The Congress aimed to foster discussions and stimulate debate on new approaches and schemes to promote the sustainable use and trade of biodiversity, legal access and benefit sharing when engaging in BioTrade activities. It provided an important and useful platform for business engagement and multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues related to sustainability and biological diversity. Different views and perspectives on the new challenges and opportunities ahead in the BioTrade area were shared, such as the Nagoya Protocol’s entry into force. For the effective implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, there is a need for tailor-made technical assistance to governments, businesses and other relevant stakeholders. Different practices and tools applicable to sustainable sourcing and corporate social (and environmental) responsibility in the cosmetic, traditional medicine, fashion design and tourism sectors exist. The importance and value of openness and transparency along the value chains and the need for inclusive processes were stressed. Some reflections were shared on the importance given by consumers to sustainability and its impact to business branding strategies. Many tools were identified such as assessments, guidelines, codes of conduct, standards, traceability systems, certification, public-private partnerships (PPPs) and accountability practices. The Congress recognized the value of partnerships and cooperation by all participants and organizations involved, as well as with relevant stakeholders in the field.

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        Biofuel Production Technologies: Status, Prospects and Implications for Trade and Development (English)
        Summary by UNCTAD Larson, Eric D./ Princeton University, 2008, 49 pages
        Categories: Commodities, Science and Technology, Trade and Environment

        This publication provides information about biofuels for use in helping to understand technology-related implications of biofuels development. It seeks to (a)provide some context for understanding the limitations of first-generation biofuels; (b) provide meaningful descriptions accessible to non-experts of second-generation biofuel technologies; (c) present salient energy, carbon, and economic comparisons between first and second-generation biofuels; and (d) finally, to speculate on the implications for trade and development of future expansion in global production and use of biofuels.

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        Biofuel Production, Trade and Sustainable Development (English)
        Discussion paper by ICTSD, 2009, 102 pages
        Categories: Commodities, Trade and Environment

        Unstable oil prices, the challenge of climate-change mitigation, and growing concerns over energy security are driving a growth in global production of bioenergy, particularly liquid biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, with implications for agriculture, energy, environment, development and trade. Biofuels could offer countries the potential to curb carbon dioxide emissions, reduce dependence on imported fuels, and maintain production and generate new employment in the agricultural sector. For many countries, the potential of biofuels is contemplated in terms of supplying domestic energy needs and exports. Although international trade in biofuels is still limited - it is estimated that currently only one-tenth of global production worldwide is traded internationally - international trade in biofuels is expected to grow considerably given the divide between countries with comparatively lower production costs and countries with the greatest demand for biofuels. Clearly, social, economic and environmental opportunities abound…

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        Biofuels Certification and the Law of the World Trade Organization (English)
        Report by Echols, Marsha A./ICTSD, 2009, 68 pages
        Categories: Trade and Environment, WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        This report places biofuels certification in an international trade context. It assesses certification through the World Trade Organization (WTO) lens and develops the requirements for trade compliance. This paper identifies a number of issues for policymakers to consider, including the following: - compliance with a variety of standards and incentives related to their encouragement of the switch to biofuels from fossil fuels - the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and other WTO agreements - the issues, steps and unsettled areas that must be faced by when planning a biofuels-certification programme

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        The Biofuels Market: Current Situation and Alternative Scenarios (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2009, 118 pages
        Categories: Trade and Environment

        The term biofuels is commonly used with reference to liquid transportation fuels - i.e., ethanol and biodiesel - derived from agricultural, forest or any other organic material (feedstock). Current global concerns about fossil fuel prices and availability, a renewed quest by many countries for energy independence and widespread awareness of the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been the main reasons for many countries – developed and developing alike – to look for alternative energy sources. Biofuels have captured considerable attention because of the relative abundance of feedstocks in all regions, their easy utilization in combustion engines for transportation and compatibility with existing fuel distribution infrastructure and because they can provide a new end market for agricultural commodities, therefore revitalizing rural areas.

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        Biofuels Subsidies and The Law of the WTO (English)
        Report by Harmer, Toni/ICTSD, 2009, 50 pages
        Categories: Trade and Environment, WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        This paper reviews biofuel measures that are commonly used in major producing countries against WTO subsidies disciplines. These measures are found in a range of laws and policies relating to energy, the environment and agriculture. There is little evidence that domestic policymakers have taken into account WTO disciplines when crafting these measures. This paper identifies a number of issues for policymakers to consider, including the following: - WTO subsidy disciplines do not prohibit all subsidies or support to biofuels. Rather, the WTO rules concern themselves with subsidies that have a trade-distorting effect. - Although often cited in discussions about the WTO and biofuel subsidies, the green box provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) do not provide a broad category sheltering measures on the basis that they offer some environmental benefits. To qualify as green box support, specific requirements must be met. For example, payments under environmental programmes must be limited to the costs of compliance with the programme.

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        Biotrade Potential for Growth and Sustainability (English)
        Working paper by UNCTAD, 2010, 71 pages
        Categories: Trade and Environment

        Growth opportunities can be generated by sustainable business practices that enable rich biodiversity-based countries to achieve their development objectives. Current markets for environmentally friendly products and services showed growth rates, despite the economic slowdown. In this scenario, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) suggests that biodiversity-rich countries implement the BioTrade framework to capture this market potential, and transforms it into a sustainable development engine. BioTrade simultaneously generates business opportunities, growth and sustainable livelihoods for rural populations, while allowing the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The value of biodiversity can be enhanced, and risks associated to business as usual, such as the stresses on biological resources, can be reduced. This paper illustrates the potential for developing Sustainable Environment Management practices in BioTrade in Latin America.

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        Blue Book on Best Practive in Investment Promotion and Facilitation: Ghana (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, GIPC and JBIC, 2006, 49 pages
        Categories: Investment

        The Blue Book for Ghana provides concrete measures that will improve the investment climate and can be implemented by the Government within 12 months. These measures are intended to support Ghana´s development goals as articulated in the National Medium Term Private Sector Development Strategy 2004-2008 (PSDS). This Strategy outlines an action plan for revitalizing the private sector and achieving a "Golden Age of Business" in Ghana. Four objectives are presented in the PSDS. 1) An enhanced position for Ghana in regional and global markets 2) Increased efficiency and accessibility of national markets 3) Increased competence and capacity at the firm level and 4) Strengthened government private sector policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. To achieve these objectives, the PSDS contains actions at the international, national and firm levels. The Blue Book on Ghana proposes measures that support the Strategy.

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        A BRICS Development Bank: a Dream Coming True? (English)
        Working paper by Griffith-Jones, Stephany, 2014, 28 pages
        Categories: Emerging Economies and South South Cooperation, Finance for Development

        BRICS leaders have approved creating a new development bank which would fund long-term investment in infrastructure and more sustainable development. This paper documents the scale of unmet needs in these areas in developing and emerging economies and estimates the likely level of loans that this new development bank could make, under different assumptions. The paper also highlights the complementary role that such a bank would play with existing development banks and shows its importance for enhancing the influence of BRICS and other developing countries in the international development architecture.

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        Bringing Smes onto the E-Commerce Highway (English)
        Report by International Trade Centre, 2016, 120 pages
        Categories: Globalization and Development Strategies, Trade and Poverty, Trade Facilitation

        This report is a starting point for public-private dialogue to address e-commerce bottlenecks, especially for small firms in developing countries. Small firms face policy challenges in four processes typical to all e-commerce: establishing online business, international e-payment, international delivery and aftersales. To improve competitiveness, challenges must be met within the firm, in the business environment and by governments. The report provides checklists for policy guidance, as well as case studies from e-commerce entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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        Broadening The Sources Of Growth In Africa: The Role Of Investment
        Policy brief by UNCTAD, 2015, 4 pages
        Categories: Investment, Policy Reviews and Briefs

        This policy brief outlines some of the key messages and recommendations of the UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2014: Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa. Achieving the African Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa that can serve as a pole of global growth in the twenty-first century requires broadening the sources of growth on the continent to lay the foundation for sustained growth and poverty reduction. For this to happen, however, it is necessary to enhance the contribution of investment to the growth process.

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        Building a Dataset for Bilateral Maritime Connectivity
        Study by Fugazza, Marco; Hoffmann, Jan and Razafinombana, Rado, 2013, 31 pages
        Categories: Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

        This paper presents a unique database reporting the shortest liner shipping routes between any pair of countries for a reference sample of 178 countries over the 2006–2012 period. Computed maritime distances are retrieved using an original database containing all existing direct liner shipping connections between pairs of countries and the corresponding sea distance. The number of transhipments necessary to connect any country pair to allow for containerizable trade is also retrieved. The contribution of this database is threefold. First, it is expected to be a useful tool for a better appreciation of transport costs and access to regular container shipping services and their impact on trade. Secondly, as presented in this paper, it helps to describe and analyse the structure of the existing global network of liner shipping services for containerizable trade, i.e. most international trade in manufactured goods. Finally, this database is expected to facilitate the construction of a bilateral liner shipping connectivity index building on UNCTAD’s original work.

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        Building Confidence: Electronic Commerce and Development (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2000, 180 pages
        Categories: Science and Technology

        What: The report draws extensively on the discussions and conclusions of a number of expert meetings and workshops on e-commerce and developing countries. It provides a working definition of electronic commerce, examines selected cross-sectoral and sectoral issues such as fiscal and legal aspects of e-commerce, and e-commerce in transport services. A special chapter is dedicated to the development of e-commerce in Africa. The report concludes by proposing an agenda for action at the national, regional and international levels to foster e-commerce and its contribution to economic development. Who: Useful for anyone teaching electronic commerce. How: Can be used as a background reading on e-commerce and international trade.

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        Building the Capacities of Least Developed Countries to Upgrade and Diversify Fish Exports: Training Manual (English)
        Manual by UNCTAD, 2018, 85 pages
        Categories: Trade Related Capacity Building

        The manual combines information and knowledge from two areas: (1) export development and diversification, on the one hand, and (2) standards on fish safety and quality, on the other. It does not go deeply into the details of either field; instead, a premium is put on brevity and clarity to enable ease of understanding and to promote the effective implementation of the recommendations made. Additional sources are provided throughout the text for readers interested in further — and more detailed — explorations of the issues discussed.

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        Burkina Faso : Perspectives Des Entreprises - Série De L’itc Sur Les Mesures Non Tarifaires
        Report by ITC, 2012, 93 pages
        Categories: Policy Reviews and Briefs, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

        Rapport faisant partie d'une série de publications qui identifient les principaux obstacles relatifs aux mesures non tarifaires (MNT), auxquels le secteur privé est confronté - analyse l'expérience des entreprises exportatrices et importatrices au Burkina Faso, à travers une enquête directe de grande échelle; identifie les principaux obstacles MNT d'ordre réglementaire et procédurale, imposés par les pays partenaires ainsi que parle Burkina Faso; fournit une analyse sectorielle des problèmes relatifs aux MNT dans le secteur agricole et manufacturier; les appendices incluent la Classification internationale des mesures non tarifaires, et les références bibliographiques.

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        The Business of Biotrade: Using Biological Resources Sustainably and Responsibly
        Paper by UNCTAD, 2014, 60 pages
        Categories: Trade and Environment

        This paper explores how the efforts of the Biotrade Initiative provide incentives for business to conserve biodiversity through using biological resources sustainably and responsibly. Through a review and assessment of distinct case studies, it identifies the actual, practical, bottom-up incentives generated by Biotrade partners and practitioners.

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        Business Process Analysis Guide to Simplify Trade Procedures
        Paper by UNESCAP and UNECE, 2012, 139 pages
        Categories: Enterprise Development

        This paper offers a simple methodology to elicit, document, and analyze the existing “as-is”business processes involved in international trade, as well as aid in developing recommendations for further improvement. It suggests a set of practical steps and activities, from setting the scope of the business process analysis project; planning its implementation; collecting relevant data; and presenting it in an easily understandable manner, to analyzing the captured data in order to identify bottlenecks and developing recommendations for improvement. This recommended set of steps and activities was generalized from the business process analysis exercise conducted in Thailand in preparation for the development of Thailand’s Single Window e-Logistics, which is a national obligation under the ASEAN Single Window initiative.