Trade Policy Development - IDB

Trade Policy Development - IDB

Information dated: 2017

Joaquim Tres

(Integration and Trade Capacity-Building)

Integration and Trade Principal Specialist

Tel: +1 202 623 2179

E-mail: Jtres [at] iadb.org ()

The IDB provides studies of the implications of existing and proposed agreements, transport and other costs, and the role of export promotion agencies; it has recently focused on the impact of Asia on Latin American trade policy. It has a long history of supporting its members in negotiating regional agreements and providing training for trade officials.

As a result of trade capacity building programs in LAC, the region has a large number of sophisticated trade and investment agreements and some of the lowest tariffs.

Policy research and impact studies

The IDB prepares analytical products with the overall goal of assisting member countries in designing and implementing trade and integration policies that facilitate economic growth, development and poverty reduction. It aims to provide policy recommendations and analysis to IDB operations and stakeholders that are technically sound, relevant to countries’ current development goals and consistent with current theoretical knowledge and policy debate. The policy research has been built around various areas including:

The design of optimal strategies for implementing existing agreements to promoting convergence and accumulation among the existing agreements.

Research on non-policy trade costs, such as transport costs, trade facilitation costs, and the information costs of carrying out trade. This includes the following flagship publications on trade costs in LAC:

  • “Unclogging the Arteries: The Impact of Transport Costs on Latin American and Caribbean Trade” in 2008;
  • “Odyssey in International Markets: An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Export Promotion in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 2010;
  • “Too Far to Export: Domestic Transport Costs and Regional Export Disparities in Latin America and the Caribbean ,” 2013;
  • “Synchronized Factories: Latin America and the Caribbean in the Era of Global Value Chains,” 2014; and
  • “Out of the Border Labyrinth: An Assessment of Trade Facilitation Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 2016.

A broad aim of IDB policy research on trade policy development is to spark analysis, studies and debate on integration and trade issues across LAC. Important tools for this purpose are:

  • The Euro-Latin Study Network on Integration and Trade (ELSNIT) that focus on promoting the collaboration between European and LAC researchers on regional integration issues. It is a co-organized by INT/INTAL and four leading European centers specializing in regional and global integration issues: Center for International Economics (UPF-Barcelona); Centre d’études prospectives et d’informations internationales (CEPII - Paris); European University Institute (Research Institute of the European Commission based in Florence) and the Kiel World Economics Institute.
  • LACEA – Trade, Integration and Growth Network (LACEA-TIGN) is one of several networks co-organized with LACEA and has a focus on trade, integration and growth issues.
  • REDINT (Red de Integración INT-INTAL) seeks to promote collaborative research on trade and integration among the main research institutions in LAC. It is often used to produce background papers for the INT’s policy research reports.
  • LAEBA (Latin America/Caribbean and Asia/Pacific Economics and Business Association) is a forum dedicated to advancing economic linkages between Asia and LAC through cross-regional and comparative research and exchange. LAEBA is co-organized by INT/INTAL and the Asian Development Bank Institute.

Support for the Negotiation and Implementation of Trade and Investment Agreements

Over the last decade, LAC countries have signed a substantial number of trade and investment agreements. Given the increasingly complex web of agreements, it is critical that the public and private sectors involved in international trade and investment understand the implications of these deals. The IDB provides support to the public and private sectors through grants, financial operations, policy advice and capacity building in coordination with the WTO in the following areas:

  • Technical assistance in the negotiation of trade and investment agreements;
  • National legislation reform to comply with the requirements of the agreements in areas such as intellectual property, rules of origin, investment, government procurement, services, technical standards, antidumping, conflict resolution, environment and climate change, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures;
  • Evaluation of the economic and social impact of trade liberalization, and policy advice to minimize the impact of trade and investment agreements on the most vulnerable industries and social groups;
  • Comprehensive transition plans towards trade liberalization and economic integration.

Capacity Building Program on Integration and Trade

The IDB, jointly with the WTO, has developed an in-person training program for trade negotiators in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by these institutions in February 2002.

The objective of the IDB/INTAL-WTO Training Programme is to strengthen the capacities of the governments in the region for negotiating and implementing the multilateral trade agreements. The Program is directed to national government officials from LAC whose working responsibilities are closely related to the process of trade negotiation at a multilateral level. Training themes include: WTO rules, trade in services, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, Aid for Trade, trade and development, environment and climate change.

The Program gained new momentum in 2011 when tutored online capacity building was introduced through a pilot online course on Electronic Single Windows for Foreign Trade, which finalized in December of 2011 with 80% of its participants having certified knowledge. From this moment, more than 165 virtual tutored courses have been imparted, training more than 6.300 public and private officials in LAC. The Program offers courses in (i) Trade Facilitation, Security and Customs (including but not limited to: Electronic Single Window for Foreign Trade, Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), International Transit of Merchandise (TIM), Coordinated Border Management (CBM), Customs Management and Leadership, Customs Strategic Planning, Customs Risk Management, Trade Facilitation in the Bali Declaration); (ii) Innovation in Trade Policy and Implementation of Trade Agreements (including but not limited to: Rules of Origin, Trade Dispute Settlement, International Trade and Intellectual Property, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS), Implementation of Trade Agreements); (iii) Export Promotion and Investment Attraction (including but not limited to: SME Internationalization in the Food Sector, Impact Measurement Tools for Export Promotion and Investment Attraction Agencies, e-Commerce); (iv) Physical Integration (including but not limited to: Trade Logistics, Broadband as a Catalyst for Economic Development and Social Inclusion, Geothermal Energy for Integration); and (v) International Development Cooperation and South-South Cooperation. This online tutored modality is deemed to be the most cost-effective for targeting an extensive number of candidates who are geographically dispersed while providing opportunities to create networks with tutor facilitation and through collaborative activities during the course, since the trade and integration reform and investments require building international social capital among implementers.

In 2016, the IDB launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on New Trends in Trade Agreements in Latin America & the Caribbean. This MOOC was implemented for both English and Spanish audiences, reaching more than 16.000 course participants.

For more information: http://www.iadb.org/int/