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Building knowledge for trade and development

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        Value Chains and Tropical Products in a Changing Global Trade Regime (English)
        Report by Mather, Charles/ICTSD, 2008, 85 pages
        Categories: Commodities, Competitiveness

        In the last decade, the commodity issues have re-emerged as central to development initiatives and poverty alleviation strategies. The objective of this Issue Paper by Charles Mather is to contribute to this debate by providing an analysis of the value chains of four tropical commodities (bananas, sugar, cut flowers and palm oil) in a rapidly changing global trade environment. The author seeks to provide insights on the different ways the significant changes occurring in the structure and governance of commodity chains ultimately affect producers’ income and production sustainability. He also suggests recommendations to improve these two variables. The value chain approach has become an increasingly important framework for examining changes in the global trade of commodities and their implications for primary producers. Rather than describing the broad patterns of global exchange and assessing their consequences for producers and consumers exclusively through market mechanisms and equilibrium price changes, the global value chain (GVC) framework encompasses the production, processing, distribution and marketing of specific globally-traded commodities, and identifies the main stakeholders involved at each stage. It also highlights governance patterns (how these different stages are coordinated) and specifies the role of lead firms in determining market access, defining products and value across the chain (Schmitz, 2005). The commodity studies in this paper focus on four themes: changes in the geography of production, changes in chain governance, new developments in trade agreements and their impacts on primary producers in different developing countries, and initiatives towards sustainable production, ethical trade and worker welfare. With regard to changes in production, the paper provides insights into new developments in the production of bananas, sugar, palm oil and cut flowers, which have been driven by changes in trade agreements and new investment patterns. In several of the commodities concerned, an important development has been the rise of new low cost producers who will play a role in shaping the global market for these commodities. This paper was produced under an ICTSD dialogue and research project which seeks to address the opportunities and challenges of the full liberalisation of trade in tropical and diversification products, and explores possible areas of convergence between different groupings and interests in WTO negotiations. The project seeks to generate solutions-oriented analyses and possible policy responses from a sustainable development perspective.

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        The Value of Domestic Subsidy Rules in Trade Agreements (English)
        Working paper by Ruta, Michael, Brou, Daniel, Campanella, Edoardo, 2009, 19 pages
        Categories: WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        This paper investigates the efficient design of rules on domestic subsidies in a trade agreement. A clear trade-off emerges from the economic literature. Weak rules may lead Member governments to inefficiently use domestic subsidies for redistributive purposes or to lower market access granted to trading partners once tariffs are bound. On the other hand, excessive rigidity may inhibit tariff negotiations or induce governments to set inefficiently high tariffs, as strict regulations would reduce policy makers' ability to use subsidies to offset domestic market distortions. Efficient subsidy rules are, therefore, the ones that strike the right balance between policy flexibility and rigidity. This economic approach provides a framework to interpret the provisions on domestic subsidies in the WTO.

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        The Value of Forests: Payments for Ecosystem Services in a Green Economy
        Paper by UNEP, UNECE and FAO, 2013, 92 pages
        Categories: Trade and Environment

        This publication is a joint effort of UNEP, UNECE and FAO and discusses the concept of Payment for ecosystem services(PES) which is a tool to enable a forest owner or owners to capture the financial benefits from the positive externalities derived from forest ecosystem services and encourage them to continue to provide these services to another party or society at large. This paper also discusses the various approaches, applications and resulting benefits of the PES in the UNECE region. It also covers some negatives that could occur without good policy in place. It uses lessons learned to provide guidance on what is needed for the success of PES schemes and their possible future.

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        Variable Geometry for the WTO: Concepts and Precedents (English)
        Discussion paper by Andrew Cornford, 2004, 21 pages
        Categories: WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

        What: this discussion paper provides detailed review of the concpet and history of variable geometry at the WTO - that is the WTO as an umbrella framework for different arrangements that wouldn't require the signature of all members.It also takes a preliminary look at what a framework of variable geometry might involve and considers some of the benefits and problems likely to be associated with a multi-tier WTO. Who: of interest to anyone involved in researching (or negotiating) WTO issues and regional integration.

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        Viewing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Through an Agriculture Lens (English)
        Discussion paper by Boonekamp, Clemens/UNCTAD, 2016, 56 pages
        Categories: Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements, Trade Related Capacity Building

        The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will be one of the most consequential trade agreements in twenty years, on par with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO).1 The TPP is deeper and broader than other agreements, containing 30 chapters that bind 12 member countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam) together in ways that are often covered in less depth or are even carved out completely. Most the TPP takes effect immediately. As discussed in greater detail below, roughly 90 percent of all tariffs fall to zero on the date of entry into force of the agreement. All of the services and investment provisions kick in immediately. Much of the remainder of the agreement’s rule book also becomes active from the first day, with some flexibility for some of the rules in areas like intellectual property rights protections for countries like Vietnam. Once the TPP has been fully implemented, nearly all of the tariffs will be at zero for all of the TPP members moving goods between markets in the agreement. These provisions apply even to sensitive items like agriculture. The TPP could dramatically reconfigure supply chains in food and processed food items in ways that past trade agreements did not. The deep and broad commitments in the TPP sets up some interesting new dynamics. It is likely to exacerbate tensions in the global trading system that fall most acutely on the smallest, poorest states as companies increasingly “vote with their feet” and shift production, sales and services into TPP member markets and leave behind non-member markets in the region.

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        Vi meeting 2006 - Participant list (English)
        by Vi staff, 2006
        Categories: Vi Meetings

        List of participants with institutional affiliations and detailed coordinates (postal address, phone, fax, e-mail).

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        Virtual Institute Teaching Material on Economic and Legal Aspects of Foreign Direct Investment (English)
        Manual by UNCTAD Virtual Institute, 2010, 331 pages
        Categories: International Economic Law, Investment

        The Virtual Institute teaching material on "Economic and Legal Aspects of Foreign Direct Investment" has been updated. The publication is divided into four modules that cover: (1) the economic aspects of FDI in general; (2) policy aspects of FDI in developing countries; (3) key issues in International Investment Agreements; and (4) the interaction between investment and other areas, such as services, technology transfer, employment, etc.

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        Virtual Institute Teaching Material on Regional Trade Agreements (English)
        Manual by UNCTAD, 2010, 192 pages
        Categories: International Economic Law, Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements

        The teaching material gives a theoretical and practical overview of the different aspects concerning regional Trade Agreements (RTAs). It consists of five modules which focus on the historical and current relevance of regional integration for developing countries (Module 1); RTAs in economic theory (Module 2); the correlation between RTA rules and the WTO legal framework (Module 3); negotiating issues (Module 4); and regional trade analysis using international databases (Module 5).

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        Virtual Institute Teaching Material on Trade and Gender: Unfolding the Links (English)
        Manual by UNCTAD Virtual Institute, 2015, 215 pages
        Categories: Trade and Gender, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources

        This teaching material aims to help academics from developing and transition countries strengthen their teaching and research capacities on trade and gender, and to enhance the capacity of relevant stakeholders to mainstream gender into trade policy. The first volume, entitled "Unfolding the links", provides readers with the knowledge needed to analyze the two-way relationship between trade and gender. The second volume, entitled "Empirical analysis of the trade and gender links", takes the readers through the three principal methodologies used for the quantitative analysis of the link between trade and gender: the microeconomic approach, the macroeconomic approach and the sectoral approach.

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        Virtual Institute Teaching Material on Trade and Poverty (English)
        Manual by UNCTAD Virtual Institute, 2010, 144 pages
        Categories: Trade and Poverty

        The focus and analysis of the Trade and Poverty teaching material reflect the work of UNCTAD on the least developed countries, and in particular the UNCTAD LDC Reports. Rather than looking specifically at trade openness or liberalization and its relationship with poverty reduction, the material adopts the more general UNCTAD LDC Report view, which examines trade and its relationship with poverty. Module 1 introduces the different concepts and definitions of poverty, and outlines the mechanisms between trade, growth and poverty through three country cases. The links between trade and growth and growth and poverty are examined closer in Module 2. Module 3 provides examples of research that capture in more detail how the trade and poverty relationship works, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of research methodologies. Module 4 deals with development strategies and presents useful tools to place concepts and empirical research results into a policy context.

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        Virtual Institute Teaching Material on Transfer of Technology (English)
        Book by UNCTAD, 2012, 132 pages
        Categories: International Economic Law, Science and Technology

        The aim of this course is to introduce and discuss key concepts related to international technology transfer, and in particular, the transfer of technology from technologically-advanced countries to those that are lagging behind. The teaching material comprises four modules. The first module presents definitions of basic terms and concepts, gives an overview of the various channels and modes of international technology transfer and the measures that can be used to facilitate it. The second module shows current trends in the international transfer of technology and discusses the technology transfer process in more detail. The third module focuses on the complex relationship between intellectual property rights and international technology transfer. Finally, the last module explains and discusses international agreements dealing with related international technology transfer issues.

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        Vi Teaching Material on Competitiveness and Development (English)
        Manual by UNCTAD Virtual Institute, 2005, 167 pages
        Categories: Competitiveness

        This teaching material is designed to support university professors in "unpacking" the idea of "competitiveness” and to enable their students to identify situations of misuse of the concept. This training material is not primarily conceived as a complete course but rather to provide as a set of stimulating resources and activities that could be used either independently or integrated into existing courses offered at the university level.

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        Voluntary Peer Review of Competition Law and Policy: Botswana (English)
        Report by UNCTAD, 2018, 47 pages
        Categories: Competition Policy, Policy Reviews and Briefs

        This report is based on information gathered during a fact-finding mission to Botswana carried out in October 2017 and current information available from various sources, including Government Ministry websites. Legislative developments since the time of information collection have been considered in finalizing the report.

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        Voluntary Peer Review of Competition Policy: Tunisia - Overview (English)
        Summary by UNCTAD, 2006, 43 pages
        Categories: Competition Policy, Policy Reviews and Briefs

        This overview summarizes the most important points of the voluntary peer review of competition policy in Tunisia. After a brief recap of the political and economic context in the country, the report describes competition policy – the law, organizations and practice – in Tunisia. It also includes a review of the implementation of competition policy over the past few years in the Tunisian context (price controls, sectoral policies, etc.), as well as a set of conclusions and recommendations. The full version of the report is published under the title Voluntary Peer Review of Competition Policy: Tunisia, 2006

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        Voluntary Peer Review of Competition Policy: Tunisia - Overview (Chinese)
        Summary by UNCTAD, 2006, 33 pages
        Categories: Competition Policy

        This overview summarizes the most important points of the voluntary peer review of competition policy in Tunisia. After a brief recap of the political and economic context in the country, the report describes competition policy – the law, organizations and practice – in Tunisia. It also includes a review of the implementation of competition policy over the past few years in the Tunisian context (price controls, sectoral policies, etc.), as well as a set of conclusions and recommendations.

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