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News Article | March 4, 2016

In Switzerland, UNCTAD has released its first report on the state of biofuel technologies since 2007 and unveiled 5 five recommendations “for the responsible development of the second-generation biofuels industry.”

Becker A.H.,Stanford University | Acciaro M.,DNV GL | Acciaro M.,University of Hamburg | Asariotis R.,UNCTAD | And 13 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2013

With 80 % of world trade carried by sea, seaports provide crucial linkages in global supply-chains and are essential for the ability of all countries to access global markets. Seaports are likely to be affected directly and indirectly by climatic changes, with broader implications for international trade and development. Due to their coastal location, seaports are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events associated with increasing sea levels and tropical storm activity, as illustrated by hurricane "Sandy". In view of their strategic role as part of the globalized trading system, adapting ports in different parts of the world to the impacts of climate change is of considerable importance. Reflecting the views of a diverse group of stakeholders with expertise in climate science, engineering, economics, policy, and port management, this essay highlights the climate change challenge for ports and suggests a way forward through the adoption of some initial measures. These include both "soft" and "hard" adaptations that may be spearheaded by individual port entities, but will require collaboration and support from a broad range of public and private sector stakeholders and from society at large. In particular, the essay highlights a need to shift to more holistic planning, investment and operation. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Junginger M.,University Utrecht | van Dam J.,Jinke van Dam Consultancy | Zarrilli S.,UNCTAD | Ali Mohamed F.,Vienna International Center | And 2 more authors.
Energy Policy | Year: 2011

Recently, the international trade of various bioenergy commodities has grown rapidly, yet this growth is also hampered by some barriers. The aim of this paper is to obtain an overview of what market actors currently perceive as major opportunities and barriers for the development of international bioenergy trade. The work focuses on three bioenergy commodities: bioethanol, biodiesel and wood pellets. Data were collected through an internet-based questionnaire. The majority of the 141 respondents had an industrial background. Geographically, two-thirds were from (mainly Western) Europe, with other minor contributions from all other continents. Results show that import tariffs and the implementation of sustainability certification systems are perceived as (potentially) major barriers for the trade of bioethanol and biodiesel, while logistics are seen mainly as an obstacle for wood pellets. Development of technical standards was deemed more as an opportunity than a barrier for all commodities. Most important drivers were high fossil fuel prices and climate change mitigation policies. Concluding, to overcome some of the barriers, specific actions will be required by market parties and policy makers. Import tariffs for biofuels could be reduced or abolished, linked to multinational trade agreements and harmonization (including provisions on technical standards and sustainability requirements). © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

News Article | November 10, 2016

For Americans struggling with stagnant wages, under- or un-employment, one of Donald Trump’s most appealing campaign promises was to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Navigating the complexities of policy, tariffs and geopolitics would make that hard enough already for the president elect. But technology will make this promise nearly impossible to fulfill. Why? Because manufacturing jobs are increasingly done by robots, not people. Robotics have already helped reduce reliance on labor overseas for manufacturers in automotive, electrical and electronics industries, according to a fresh policy report from the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development. And automation does allow manufacturers to do business in the U.S. when they may have chosen to do it in Southeast Asia or somewhere else, before. But when manufacturing returns to the states, jobs aren’t coming with it in high numbers. Automation has left workers in developing nations without employment, the report notes, and the U.S. faces the same prospect. Startups creating interesting robotics that stand to “steal” jobs from people, either here or abroad, are attracting seed and venture funding. Players in this space include burger flipping and pizza making robots, respectively, from Momentum Machines and Zume, painting robots from Rational Robotics. Then there are the likes of Modbot and Baxter, robots configurable for a wide range of purposes in manufacturing and elsewhere. It’s not just startups, though. Large brands like Nike and Adidas have shed contractors and embraced robotics and 3-D printing to make their shoes. Large farms have long employed robots in the field, and major companies like Amazon and UPS rely heavily on robots for logistics and warehousing. UNCTAD’s report explained, “increased use of robots in developed countries erodes traditional labor-cost advantage of developing countries,” and is already having a global impact. It’s not just that robots ramp up productivity. They can help companies streamline all kinds of headaches affiliated with setting up shop overseas. A manufacturer outsourcing to vendors or hiring employees across borders will have to deal with the costs of managing people, design, quality, safety, customs and logistics, regulatory compliance and intellectual property from afar. “Reshoring” becomes more appealing with every technological advance in robots, since it reduces administrative and legal overhead as well as labor costs. And robots aren’t getting dumber, obviously. Advances in computer vision and artificial intelligence promise to make robots, and the software-brains inside of them, even more competitive with people, especially in manufacturing but even in physical security or hospitality. Yes, robot cashiers, assistants, security guards and flight attendants are a thing. Let’s just hope there’s always a market for “handmade” goods and human-delivered services, and perhaps a robot that can help teach former employees new work skills.

Hoekman B.,The World Bank | Nicita A.,UNCTAD
Journal of International Trade and Economic Development | Year: 2010

This paper compares the predicted trade impacts of a successful Doha Round with the trade effects of actions aimed at reducing domestic trade costs for traders in developing countries and the world as a whole. We show that a relatively small reduction in trade costs will generate trade impacts that are larger than what is likely to emerge even from a relatively ambitious Doha Round market access outcome. This illustrates the importance of complementing market access commitments with measures to reduce trade costs in developing countries - which is the objective of the trade facilitation negotiations in the Doha Round - and additional aid for trade to assist countries in covering the costs of improving trade-related procedures and processes. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Nkurunziza J.D.,UNCTAD
Journal of International Trade and Economic Development | Year: 2010

Few studies test for the effect of credit and convergence on firm growth in the context of a developing economy. The use of bank credit can affect firm growth in two opposite ways. The effect may be positive if credit allows a firm to address its liquidity constraint and increase investment and profitability. However, if macroeconomic shocks such as unexpected increases in interest rates make firm debts unsustainable, as experienced in Kenya in the 1990s, indebted firms may shrink or even collapse. Using microeconomic data on the Kenyan manufacturing sector, this study finds that conditional on survival, the firms that use credit grow faster than those not using it. There is also evidence that small firms grow faster than large ones, confirming the convergence hypothesis. These results are robust to alternative estimation procedures controlling for both endogeneity and selection bias. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Ostensson O.,UNCTAD
Journal of Mines, Metals and Fuels | Year: 2010

The conditions of the global iron ore companies across the world have been discussed. It has been reported that the steel production witnessed a recovery in the year 2009, but the total 2009 production would be about 10% lower than in 2008. Stimulus packages had a significant impact on the iron ore market and the production in Europe and North America had declined significantly. Chinese crude steel production would be more than 550 Mt in 2009 and some Chinese mines could not cover their costs at prices of products. Global iron ore demand has been reported to increase by about 10% in future. The demand growth to 2020 is expected to average 3.3% per year from 2008 to 2020 and around 2014, world iron ore demand would pass the 2 billion tons threshold. The benchmark pricing system, which tied overseas exporters to fixed prices, made the freight rate the most important dynamic factor defining competitiveness. The seaborne trade has been expected to grow leading to opportunities for new suppliers and causing intermittent supply squeezes after 2012.

Mirza H.,UNCTAD | Mirza H.,University of Bradford | Wee K.H.,UNCTAD
Progress in International Business Research | Year: 2014

Purpose - This chapter analyses the how, who, where and why of rapid rise in intra-regional investment by companies from ASEAN since 2009. Methodology/approach - The chapter analyses the push and pull factors of intra-regional investment in ASEAN, the resulting patterns of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the accompanying rise of strong regional players. Findings - The region's FDI landscape is changing in terms of investment sources, players, FDI trends and dynamics of the region. This trend is strongly affected by stepped up efforts by ASEAN governments to encourage their national companies to invest in the region and the influence of the ASEAN Economic Community. Implications - Regional integration and emerging business opportunities are providing an impetus not seen before in driving intra-regional investment. As more ASEAN companies position and prepare for AEC 2015, this intra-regional investment wave is likely to gather force. Originality/value - The chapter lists the regional and global 'footprint' of the top 50 largest ASEAN companies by revenues. The thus identified companies include companies operating in oil and gas, mining, agri-business, telecommunications, food and beverages, manufacturing, banking, power generation, infrastructure, real estate and healthcare services. Copyright © 2014 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Outreville J.F.,HEC Montréal | Hanni M.,UNCTAD
Journal of Wine Research | Year: 2013

The objective of the paper is to identify some of the determinants of foreign investment of the largest multinational enterprises (MNEs) operating in the wine industry. The factors that drive firms to invest abroad and those that determine the location of those investments are examined in the case of the world wine industry. The list of the largest MNEs has been compiled using financial databases and company websites. Spearman rank correlation values are calculated between the ranking of the location popularity of host countries and the ranking of the independent variables or indices for the same period. The results of this study have some important implications. They indicate that location-specific advantages of host countries do provide an explication of the internationalization of firms in some preferred countries rather than others. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Journal of World Trade | Year: 2011

On 1 January 2011, a new regulation on EC Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) rules of origin came into force, ending a reform process that was initiated by the Commission Green Paper of 2003 on the future of rules of origin in preferential trade arrangements. The new EC GSP rules of origin herald a new era and set a benchmark for other preference-giving countries: they are far more liberal than the previous ones with the notable exception of fishery products and processed agricultural food. The Regulation also introduces as of 2017 a new administration of rules of origin whereby origin declarations are made upon registered exporters designation of the certifying authorities. The aim of this article is twofold. The first is to analyse the EC reform to assess the major changes from previous rules of origin; the second aim is to briefly analyse the foundation, evidence, and studies that have underpinned such reform. It discusses the methodology used by the EC Commission and developed by the author in previous UNCTAD papers in setting a given rule of origin. The article concludes with a comparative table of old and new product-specific rules of origin outlining the major changes in key industrial sectors such as agri-food products, clothing, machineries, and electronics. © 2011 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands.

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