Boosting Integrity in Global Trade

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2016 OECD Integrity Forum

This post originally appeared on the Corporate Compliance Trends blog.

Mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services is at the heart of David Ricardo’s comparative advantage argument and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Over the centuries, such exchange through commerce has connected countries around the globe through a web of economic links and lifted millions out of poverty. In the modern era, international agreements under the World Trade Organization (WTO) have done much to lower tariffs and increase trade. However, in many countries, non-tariff barriers continue to impede growth and development. Lack of integrity in border control and customs administration is one such key barrier.

As estimated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the loss of revenue among its 180 member countries caused by customs-related corruption is at least USD 2 billion in customs revenue each year. India and Russia alone are losing USD 334 million and USD 223 million, respectively. Beyond monetary losses, lack of integrity in customs also presents big risks for global value chains and security concerns when it comes to criminal activity and illicit trade.

Given this global significance, combatting corruption at the border was an important topic of the 2016 OECD Integrity Forum in Paris conducted under the theme “Fighting the Hidden Tariff: Global Trade without Corruption.” Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, made a powerful case for trade with integrity in his opening remarks:

“Integrity is not just a moral issue; it’s also about making our economies more productive, our public sectors more efficient, our societies and our economies more inclusive. It’s about restoring trust, not just trust in government, but trust in public institutions, regulators, banks, and corporations.”

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Helping Earthquake-Affected Farmers Get Back on their Feet in Nepal

Women are crucial to Nepal's agricultural sector. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Women are crucial to Nepal’s agricultural sector. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Just over a year after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake left thousands dead, destroyed centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage sites, and wiped out entire villages, Nepal is struggling to cope with the economic impacts of the earthquake. According to the Nepal government, the overall damage is estimated to be about $10 billion – more than half of the country’s $19.2 billion GDP.  The disaster is also expected to push an additional 700,000 Nepalese below the national poverty line, which is currently $200 a year, before mid-2016.

Nepal's economy was severely affected by last year's devastating earthquake.

Nepal’s economy was severely affected by last year’s devastating earthquake. (Source: Central Bureau of Statistics)

Particularly worrisome is the devastating impact on agriculture. Two thirds of Nepal’s population is employed in the agriculture and forestry sector, according to the International Labor Organization, accounting for 34 percent of the country’s economic output. The government’s estimates show the agricultural sector’s losses at about NPR 28.3 billion, or $284 million at current exchange rates. Without the restoration of the agricultural sector, Nepal won’t fully recover from the earthquake.

The Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN) has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Department, with CIPE’s support, to raise awareness among women agro-entrepreneurs about the various funding opportunities offered by the Ministry. Through training seminars on grant applications and procedures for agricultural credit subsidies at each of FWEAN’s 25 district chapters, FWEAN is encouraging women entrepreneurs to use the resources made available by the government.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #14: Arian Ardie on How Indonesian Companies are Coming to Grips with Anti-Corruption Compliance

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CIPE Indonesia Program Coordinator Arian Ardie (Twitter: @aajkt) talks about the burgeoning Indonesian economy, foreign investment opportunities, and how Indonesian companies are coming to terms with what anti-corruption compliance means for them. Ardie also discusses the challenges of meeting cultural norms while being compliant with international business practices, and the inherent “sloppiness” of implementing decentralization and democracy in one of most populous countries in the world.

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How Selling Online Helps Small Businesses in the Developing World Break into Export Markets

From the report on page 14. It shows that in 2014, eBay was the primarily an export platform for the eBay-enabled SMEs in Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Thailand

From the report on page 14. It shows that in 2014, eBay was the primarily an export platform for the eBay-enabled SMEs in Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Thailand

Can e-commerce markets help create a more inclusive global economy where small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries can export their products overseas without facing major obstacles? According to a recent report published by eBay Public Policy Lab, Small Online Business Growth Report: Towards an Inclusive Global Economy, the answer is yes.

As the World Economic Forum notes, internet-based commerce sites have a positive impact for SMEs around the world because they open up new export opportunities, facilitate access to low-cost imported inputs, and e-commerce marketplaces make it easier to globally sell and source goods by reducing non-tariff barriers to trade, such as access to information.

The eBay report looked at its own data to examine if these arguments were true. The datasets of transactions from small online business (sellers with sales of more than USD $10,000 on eBay marketplace) from 2010 to 2014 in 18 countries, including emerging markets like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

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Storytelling: A Tool for Changemakers in Civil Societies Around the Globe

Storymakers Twitterchat 2016

Join us for the #Storymakers2016 Twitter chat on May 4

On May 4, CIPE is partnering with Democracy International and Devex for TechSoup’s 24-hour, around-the-world #Storymakers2016 Twitter chat. We’ll dig into how civil societies are using traditional and emerging storytelling tools to empower individuals and shift democracy, governance and human rights conversations around the globe.

Join us for this one-hour live Twitter chat on May 4, 2016 at 4:00pm EST, 10:00 pm Johannesburg time.

#Storymakers2016 Twitter Chat: Storytelling: a tool for change makers in civil societies around the globe

Curious about this topic? Tune in by following along at #Storymakers2016 to hear from global development leaders and civil society experts to discuss these questions:

  • What is working in #DemocracyRightsGovernance #communications + #storytelling? How are int’l orgs supporting #HumanRights advocacy + #CivilSociety?
  • What is not working when #GlobalDev orgs try and support #CivilSociety or #HumanRights activists in developing countries or repressive regimes?
  • What risks do activists and #CivilSociety organizations face when they utilize storytelling and other #comms tools?
  • Can storytelling and #communications counter the trajectory of countries with closing democratic space, turbulent politics, or even conflict?
  • How can int’l orgs, NGOs, CSOs, and activists overcome these challenges and improve #GlobalDev outcomes through better #storytelling?

Participants will include:

  • CIPE — The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.
  • Democracy International — Democracy International (DI) promotes democracy, human rights, good governance, peace, and international development around the world.
  • Devex — Devex is the media platform for the global development community. We connect & inform 700,000+ dev professionals worldwide.

Follow the organizations on social media:

Twitter:  @CIPEGlobal, @DemocracyIntl, @Devex, @TechSoup
Facebook: Center for International Private Enterprise, Democracy International, Devex

Kenneth Arrow: Directions of Research in the Coasean Tradition

Marginal Revolution blogger and George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen moderates a panel on the future of economic research, featuring Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Marginal Revolution blogger and George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen moderates a panel on the future of economic research, featuring Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Last year, CIPE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Ronald Coase Institute to host a conference that celebrated the legacy of Ronald Coase and review research inspired by his work. Ronald Coase is perhaps best known for his explanation of the importance of transaction costs, property rights, and institutions to the functioning of an economy. A primary thought leader for new institutional economics, he received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991.

To recognize the anniversary of the conference, “The Next Generation of Discovery: Research and Policy Change Inspired by Ronald Coase,” CIPE focused this month’s Economic Reform Feature Service article on remarks given by Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics Emeritus at Stanford University Kenneth Arrow.

To quote Arrow in his opening remarks, Ronald Coase’s work was “provocative, so undriven by fads.” In taking his own independent course, Coase challenged assumptions and norms, and left behind a wealth of insights that continue to influence today’s economic research agenda in a range of fields.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #13: WEConnect International’s Elizabeth Vazquez on the One Thing Women Entrepreneurs All Over the World Want the Most

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Podcast hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson with Elizabeth Vasquez (center)

President, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International Elizabeth A. Vazquez discusses the biggest challenges that women around the world face when trying to start and grow a business, and the one thing that they all want the most. Vazquez also talks about how watching her mother host Mexico’s “first yard sale” while she was growing up taught her the value of entrepreneurship for changing women’s lives, and the fundamental mental shift that many businesswomen need to make to reach their potential.

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Listen to past episodes of our show here.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show!