International Trade and Finance: A North American Perspective

By Khosrow Fatemi | Go to book overview

11
SPECIAL ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE

In recent years, international trade, one of the traditional engines of growth, has taken the new dimension of becoming the main potential savior of the international economic system. If the present international economic order--even in a modified version--is to survive the current quagmire it has created for itself, it has to find a means of doing so through international trade. Many of the systemic problems the international economy faces today-whether long-term such as the debt crisis or short-term such as the prevailing imbalances in trade--require solutions and not bandages. Expansion of trade, preferably not in the traditional way where industrial countries export manufactured goods to the developing and in return import raw materials, may be one of the few feasible solutions available. The "new" international trade system has to be more balanced, quantitatively (that is, numerically) as well as qualitatively (namely, the value-added contributions it makes to each trading partners' economy). International trade must also give sufficient emphasis to new areas of trade, such as trade in intangibles or services.

The discussion of international trade in Part Two comprises two chapters, each dealing with a specific aspect of international trade. In Chapter 2, H. Peter Gray discusses international trade in services, specifically nonfactor services. He identifies four features of international trade in nonfactor services. He further suggests that trade in services in several industries is likely to be conducted within the hierarchy of a multinational corporation; and as such international trade in services will constitute intra-firm trade. Gray maintains that, to be successful, efforts to reduce bar riers to international trade in services in the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations must also contain an important commitment to freedom for foreign direct investment. He argues that without this freedom, international trade in general, and trade in nonfactor services in particular, will be severely curtailed and biased.

In Chapter 3, John Kaminarides presents the findings of his study of the impact that export industries have on the employment portfolio of a region. Specifically, this chapter applies the tools of economic base analysis for the purpose of determining the product specialization and export orientation of the economy of a particular region. Two indexes, the index of local specialization (ILS) and net export workers (NEW), are used to determine the economic base of the region, and to further identify the region's exports. Finally, for each region, the level of self-sufficiency is established by comparing its ratios of NEW and LPW (local producing workers). The concluding part of Chapter 3 is the author's application of this model to the state of Arkansas and identification of its export industries and potentials.

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