International trade

Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Matthieu Bussière, Pauline Wibaux, 16 August 2018

Recent events on the international stage have reignited the debate on trade and currency wars. This column compares two forms of non-cooperative policies – import tariffs and currency devaluations – within a single framework. The results show that tariffs and devaluations do not have equivalent effects on trade flows. A 1% depreciation of the importer's currency reduces imports by around 0.5% in current dollars, whereas an increase in import tariffs by 1 percentage point reduces imports by around 1.4%.

Christopher Parsons, Pierre-Louis Vézina, 15 August 2018

One of the largest refugee waves in recent history was that of the Vietnamese boat people. This column examines the long-run effect of the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees across the US on exports from the US to Vietnam. The first wave of refugees in 1975 was followed by a 20-year trade embargo on Vietnam. Following the lifting of sanctions, the share of US exports going to Vietnam was higher and more diversified in the states with larger Vietnamese populations. This evidence of the pro-trade effect of immigrants is a reminder that hosting refugees can represent an investment in the future.

Alessandro Barattieri, Matteo Cacciatore, Fabio Ghironi, 10 August 2018

Populist politicians argue that protectionism stimulates the domestic economy. This column uses data on temporary trade barriers from antidumping investigations to show that when small open economies have imposed protectionist measures, it has caused inflation to rise and real economic activity to fall. Empirical analysis and model-based exercises show that protectionism is costly even when used temporarily, even for economies stuck in liquidity traps, and regardless of the flexibility of the exchange rate.

Yi Huang, Chen Lin, Sibo Liu, Heiwai Tang, 10 August 2018

Tariffs intended to reduce competition from foreign firms can backfire by also raising the costs of imported inputs for domestic firms. This column examines the market responses to the Trump administration’s initial and subsequent announcements of tariffs on imports from China. US firms that are more dependent on exports to and imports from China experienced lower stock and bond returns but higher default risks around the date of the announcement. Firms’ indirect exposure to US-China trade through domestic input-output linkages affects their responses to the announcements. 

Thierry Mayer, Vincent Vicard, Soledad Zignago, 02 August 2018

Sixty years after the Treaty of Rome came into force, doubts about the benefits of trade openness are increasing among the general public and policymakers, with Brexit and calls from many governments for a reversal of key integration agreements painting a bleak picture of what may come next. This column revisits the gains EU members have reaped from trade integration since 1957 and what would be the costs of going backwards. The results suggest that the Single Market has increased trade between EU members by 109% on average for goods, with associated welfare gains reaching 4.4% for the average European country.

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