Trade

Overview

Last Updated: August 2, 2023

Open, stable, and transparent trade policies are key for economic growth and resilience and for addressing key global challenges, including climate change, food security, and underdevelopment. The Fund’s longstanding role in international trade and trade policy is rooted in our mandate, which we deliver to countries through analysis and policy advice. These activities are complemented by trade work related to lending and capacity development.

The 2023 Review of the Role of Trade in the Work of the Fund outlines an agenda to reinvigorate the role of the Fund to help countries address key trade-related challenges. The IMF’s priorities for future work include analytical issues, surveillance, and cooperation with other international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Highlights

Graphics: Courtesy of WTO
Digital Trade for Development

Digital Trade for Development explores the opportunities and challenges for developing economies arising from digital trade and discusses the role of international cooperation in tackling these opportunities and challenges.

Co-published in 2023 by the IMF, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Bank, and the WTO.

Read More
IMF Finance and Development, June 2023 Issue cover
June 2023 F&D Magazine, “Trade, Disrupted”

F&D’s June issue is all about trade in turmoil. Learn how global trade is being dramatically reshaped by geopolitical fragmentation, technology, and changing policy priorities like equality and climate change.

The Rise of Discriminatory Regionalism, by Michele Ruta
Subsidy Wars, by Elizabeth Van Heuvelen

Read More
Subsidy Platform

The heads of the IMF, OECD, World Bank, and WTO today announced the launch of a Joint Subsidy Platform (JSP) at www.subsidydata.org to enhance transparency on the use of subsidies. The JSP is intended to facilitate access to information on the nature, size, and economic impact of subsidies, with a view to facilitating dialogue on their appropriate use and design.
🎦 Watch July 26 joint webinar on Subsidies: Why do we care, what do we know, and what next?

Read More
Review of the Role of Trade in the Work of the Fund

April 3, 2023

This paper outlines key changes in the global trade landscape in recent years, reviews the role of the Fund in this area, and outlines a trade strategy for the Fund going forward.

Read More

Policy and Research

Fiscal Revenue Mobilization and Digitally Traded Products: Taxing at the Border or Behind It?
September 7, 2023

Digitalization has the potential to bring great economic benefits, but it is also creating new challenges. This note focuses on trade in digitized products, its fiscal revenue implications, and the appropriate role for domestic and border tax instruments in this context.

Review of the Role of Trade in the Work of the Fund
April 3, 2023

This paper outlines key changes in the global trade landscape in recent years, reviews the role of the Fund in this area, and outlines a trade strategy for the Fund going forward. 

Subsidies, Trade, and International Cooperation (IMF-OECD-WB-WTO)
April 22, 2022

In this study, four international organizations (IOs) examine ways to help, individually and jointly, to develop methodologies to assess the cross-border effects of different forms of subsidies, and supporting inter-governmental dialogues.

Reinvigorating Trade and Inclusive Growth (IMF-WBG-WTO)
September 30, 2018

Trade integration can play a much larger role in boosting shared prosperity. The current focus on trade tensions threatens to obscure the great untapped benefits possible from further trade reform.

Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All: The Case for Trade and for Policies to Facilitate Adjustment (IMF-WBG-WTO)
April 10, 2017

The role of trade in the global economy is at a critical juncture. Increased trade integration helped to drive economic growth in advanced and developing economies in the latter part of the 20th century.

Reference Note on Trade Policy, Preferential Trade Agreements and WTO Consistency
October 1, 2010

This Reference Note introduces guidance on preferential trade agreements (PTAs). In so doing, it responds to the request by the Executive Board in the context of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) Evaluation of IMF Involvement in Trade Policy Issues.

The Return of Industrial Policy in Data
January 4, 2024

This paper introduces the New Industrial Policy Observatory (NIPO) dataset and documents emergent patterns of policy intervention during 2023 associated with the return of industrial policy. 

Trading with Friends in Uncertain Times
June 16, 2023

In this paper we seek to answer the question of how the patterns of bilateral trade are altered by rising trade policy uncertainty (TPU). 

Trade Integration in Africa: Unleashing the Continent's Potential in a Changing World
May 5, 2023

In recent years, African leaders have shown a renewed push for regional integration by signing the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA has the potential to transform regional trade and thereby lift growth and support livelihoods across the continent.

Geoeconomic Fragmentation and Foreign Direct Investment
April 11, 2023

Supply-chain disruptions and rising geopolitical tensions have brought the risks and potential benefits and costs of geoeconomic fragmentation to the center of the policy debate. 

Geoeconomic Fragmentation and the Future of Multilateralism
January 15, 2023

After several decades of increasing global economic integration, the world is facing the risk of policy-driven geoeconomic fragmentation (GEF). 

Asia and the Growing Risk of Geoeconomic Fragmentation
October 13, 2022

Trade has been an engine of growth for Asia and the world. The rise of geopolitical tensions in recent years—first amid US-China trade tensions and now accelerating in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—has brought concerns.

Fiscal Revenue Mobilization and Digitally Traded Products: Taxing at the Border or Behind It?
September 7, 2023

Digitalization has the potential to bring great economic benefits, but it is also creating new challenges. This note focuses on trade in digitized products, its fiscal revenue implications, and the appropriate role for domestic and border tax instruments in this context.

Review of the Role of Trade in the Work of the Fund
April 3, 2023

This paper outlines key changes in the global trade landscape in recent years, reviews the role of the Fund in this area, and outlines a trade strategy for the Fund going forward. 

Subsidies, Trade, and International Cooperation (IMF-OECD-WB-WTO)
April 22, 2022

In this study, four international organizations (IOs) examine ways to help, individually and jointly, to develop methodologies to assess the cross-border effects of different forms of subsidies, and supporting inter-governmental dialogues.

Reinvigorating Trade and Inclusive Growth (IMF-WBG-WTO)
September 30, 2018

Trade integration can play a much larger role in boosting shared prosperity. The current focus on trade tensions threatens to obscure the great untapped benefits possible from further trade reform.

Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All: The Case for Trade and for Policies to Facilitate Adjustment (IMF-WBG-WTO)
April 10, 2017

The role of trade in the global economy is at a critical juncture. Increased trade integration helped to drive economic growth in advanced and developing economies in the latter part of the 20th century.

Reference Note on Trade Policy, Preferential Trade Agreements and WTO Consistency
October 1, 2010

This Reference Note introduces guidance on preferential trade agreements (PTAs). In so doing, it responds to the request by the Executive Board in the context of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) Evaluation of IMF Involvement in Trade Policy Issues.

The Return of Industrial Policy in Data
January 4, 2024

This paper introduces the New Industrial Policy Observatory (NIPO) dataset and documents emergent patterns of policy intervention during 2023 associated with the return of industrial policy. 

Trading with Friends in Uncertain Times
June 16, 2023

In this paper we seek to answer the question of how the patterns of bilateral trade are altered by rising trade policy uncertainty (TPU). 

Trade Integration in Africa: Unleashing the Continent's Potential in a Changing World
May 5, 2023

In recent years, African leaders have shown a renewed push for regional integration by signing the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA has the potential to transform regional trade and thereby lift growth and support livelihoods across the continent.

Geoeconomic Fragmentation and Foreign Direct Investment
April 11, 2023

Supply-chain disruptions and rising geopolitical tensions have brought the risks and potential benefits and costs of geoeconomic fragmentation to the center of the policy debate. 

Geoeconomic Fragmentation and the Future of Multilateralism
January 15, 2023

After several decades of increasing global economic integration, the world is facing the risk of policy-driven geoeconomic fragmentation (GEF). 

Asia and the Growing Risk of Geoeconomic Fragmentation
October 13, 2022

Trade has been an engine of growth for Asia and the world. The rise of geopolitical tensions in recent years—first amid US-China trade tensions and now accelerating in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—has brought concerns.

Events

9th Annual IMF/World Bank/WTO Trade Research Conference
October 24, 2023

This conference discusses geopolitical tensions, carbon pricing, services, trade patterns, development, and climate change, as well as a policy panel with chief economists from each institution on industrial policy and the role of international organizations.

Read More
Subsidies: why do we care, what do we know, and what next?
July 26, 2023

Joint webinar hosted by the OECD on July 26, following the release of the new Joint Subsidies Platform by the IMF, World Bank Group, WTO, and OECD. Video: Courtesy of the OECD.

Read More
IMF Conference on Geoeconomic Fragmentation
May 25, 2023

With the world facing the risk of policy-driven geoeconomic fragmentation, this one-day conference brings together leading scholars and policymakers to discuss the potential economic consequences of geoeconomic fragmentation, focusing on its effects on trade and capital flows, firms’ production networks, and technology diffusion.
Workshop | Opening Remarks by Gita Gopinath

Read More
Trade Integration in Africa – Unleashing the Continent’s Potential in a Changing World
May 5, 2023

Launch event in Nairobi, Kenya, for new IMF paper which highlights the potential benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area for the continent, and the policies and reforms needed to achieve them.

Read More
PortWatch—Monitoring Disaster-Related Trade Disruptions from Space
April 11, 2023

A workshop at the 2023 Spring Meetings. The PortWatch project uses satellite-based vessel data and big data analytics to monitor trade disruptions from natural disasters. It allows users to monitor local and global spillovers from natural disasters by leveraging insights on the international trade network.
Watch replay here.

Read More
Preserving Open Trade: Subsidies, Geopolitics, and International Cooperation
April 22, 2022

Joint IMF-World Bank-WTO-OECD Panel Discussion hosted by the World Bank Group during the 2022 IMF-WBG Spring Meetings.
Watch replay here: https://youtu.be/2673uI2YxOo (Video: Courtesy of the World Bank Group)

Read More

9th Annual IMF/World Bank/WTO Trade Research Conference
October 24, 2023

This conference discusses geopolitical tensions, carbon pricing, services, trade patterns, development, and climate change, as well as a policy panel with chief economists from each institution on industrial policy and the role of international organizations.

Read More
Subsidies: why do we care, what do we know, and what next?
July 26, 2023

Joint webinar hosted by the OECD on July 26, following the release of the new Joint Subsidies Platform by the IMF, World Bank Group, WTO, and OECD. Video: Courtesy of the OECD.

Read More
IMF Conference on Geoeconomic Fragmentation
May 25, 2023

With the world facing the risk of policy-driven geoeconomic fragmentation, this one-day conference brings together leading scholars and policymakers to discuss the potential economic consequences of geoeconomic fragmentation, focusing on its effects on trade and capital flows, firms’ production networks, and technology diffusion.
Workshop | Opening Remarks by Gita Gopinath

Read More
Trade Integration in Africa – Unleashing the Continent’s Potential in a Changing World
May 5, 2023

Launch event in Nairobi, Kenya, for new IMF paper which highlights the potential benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area for the continent, and the policies and reforms needed to achieve them.

Read More
PortWatch—Monitoring Disaster-Related Trade Disruptions from Space
April 11, 2023

A workshop at the 2023 Spring Meetings. The PortWatch project uses satellite-based vessel data and big data analytics to monitor trade disruptions from natural disasters. It allows users to monitor local and global spillovers from natural disasters by leveraging insights on the international trade network.
Watch replay here.

Read More
Preserving Open Trade: Subsidies, Geopolitics, and International Cooperation
April 22, 2022

Joint IMF-World Bank-WTO-OECD Panel Discussion hosted by the World Bank Group during the 2022 IMF-WBG Spring Meetings.
Watch replay here: https://youtu.be/2673uI2YxOo (Video: Courtesy of the World Bank Group)

Read More

Blogs and Podcasts

Not Your Grandmother’s Industrial Policy: Michele Ruta
February 22, 2024

Industrial policy had its heyday in the 1950s and 60s when governments moved to boost national competitiveness amid burgeoning global trade. Economists have been predicting the return of industrial policy of late- and there’s no question it’s back, but what does today’s industrial policy look like? Michele Ruta is a trade expert at the IMF, and along with some colleagues compiled a new dataset that shows the extent to which new industrial policies are being used and what their real impact might be on the global economy. Transcript

Check out the IMF’s global trade webpage

Why Digital Trade Should Remain Open
December 13, 2023

Policymakers should consider the benefits of international rules that promote a predictable policy environment, including continued tariff-free digital imports

How Latin America Can Use Trade to Boost Growth
November 16, 2023

Better infrastructure and logistics can help the region increase trade and growth

Climate Change is Disrupting Global Trade
November 15, 2023

Panama’s drought shows how trade disruptions from climate extremes can reverberate around the world

Harm From ‘De-Risking’ Strategies Would Reverberate Beyond China
October 17, 2023

The negative impact of ‘de-risking’ strategies by major economies would be felt beyond China, while comprehensive reforms in China could generate significant positive spillovers

Countries Can Tap Tax Potential to Finance Development Goals
September 19, 2023

Emerging market and low-income economies have a significant untapped tax potential of 8 percent to 9 percent of GDP

Trade Data

Graphics: World Bank Group

The Subsidy Platform is a joint effort by the staff of the IMF, OECD, World Bank Group, and WTO. Its purpose is to increase transparency on the use of subsidies across economies and sectors and to serve as a “one-stop shop” for information and analysis on subsidies respectively maintained by these organizations. Each organization uses its own definition, methodology, and coverage for the information it maintains. Thus, users of the portal should take note of those differences when using data and information from each organization.

The Subsidy Platform serves as a portal and redirects users to data and information that is separately hosted on the four institutions’ websites. Users should abide by the disclaimers, copyright and usage procedures, and citation information on the individual institutions’ sites, platforms, and databases. The joint hosting of the Subsidy Platform does not constitute an endorsement by the members of any of the four organizations of particular information accessible through this site.

Read more in Press Release >>

IMF | OECD | The World Bank | World Trade Organization

 

PORTWATCH

The PortWatch project uses satellite-based vessel data and big data analytics to monitor trade disruptions from natural disasters. The PortWatch portal allows users to monitor local and global spillovers from natural disasters by leveraging insights on the international trade network.

Graphic: IMF 

Learn more at below links:

Launch of the PortWatch Platform: Monitoring Trade Disruptions from Space

Analytical Corner: Tracking Trade Disruptions from Space

Graphics: World Bank Group

The Subsidy Platform is a joint effort by the staff of the IMF, OECD, World Bank Group, and WTO. Its purpose is to increase transparency on the use of subsidies across economies and sectors and to serve as a “one-stop shop” for information and analysis on subsidies respectively maintained by these organizations. Each organization uses its own definition, methodology, and coverage for the information it maintains. Thus, users of the portal should take note of those differences when using data and information from each organization.

The Subsidy Platform serves as a portal and redirects users to data and information that is separately hosted on the four institutions’ websites. Users should abide by the disclaimers, copyright and usage procedures, and citation information on the individual institutions’ sites, platforms, and databases. The joint hosting of the Subsidy Platform does not constitute an endorsement by the members of any of the four organizations of particular information accessible through this site.

Read more in Press Release >>

IMF | OECD | The World Bank | World Trade Organization

 

PORTWATCH

The PortWatch project uses satellite-based vessel data and big data analytics to monitor trade disruptions from natural disasters. The PortWatch portal allows users to monitor local and global spillovers from natural disasters by leveraging insights on the international trade network.

Graphic: IMF 

Learn more at below links:

Launch of the PortWatch Platform: Monitoring Trade Disruptions from Space

Analytical Corner: Tracking Trade Disruptions from Space