IIT Blog

The Institute for International Trade at The University of Adelaide is delighted to announce the arrival of three new PhD candidates. The three aspirants commenced their studies in November of 2016 with an underlying theme of “Trade and Production Value-Chain.”

The Institute is positive that they will prove to be a valuable addition, and build on the presence of PhD students within the Faculty.  The Institute for International Trade currently has two students approaching the conclusion of their studies, and looks forward to the promise of additional candidates in 2017.

Our three new PhD. Candidates are:

  • Adriana Espejo Gracia (full-time PhD Candidate) is researching “Gender, Trade and Global production Value-Chain” under the supervision of Professor Christopher Findlay and Associate Professor Shandre Thangavelu
  • Rynne Brendan (Part-Time PhD Candidate) is conducting research on “Trade, Regional Integration and Global Production Value-Chain” under the supervision of Associate Professor Shandre Thangavelu, Professor Kym Anderson and Professor Richard Pomfret
  • Vutha Hing (Full-Time PhD Candidate) is conducting research on “Human Capital Development, Trade Dynamics, and Regional Production Value-Chain” under the supervison of Professor Christopher Findlay and  Associate Professor Shandre Thangavelu

Please join us in welcoming these candidates to the Institute!

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Governance in Middle-Eastern and North African countries is a major factor in their businesses’ ability to trade and participate in the global economy. The quality of institutions correlates with the export performance of companies, as shown by the latest FEMISE report (FEM41-08).

The latest FEMISE publication, “Corporate Performance in Transition: The Role of Business Constraints and Institutions in the South Mediterranean Region” (available here), is structured in three parts. After analyzing the knowhow and constraints of companies located in the Middle East and North Africa, the report goes on to examine the case of Egyptian companies, looking at the obstacles impeding their performance.

The third part of the report, coordinated by economics professor Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, underlines the importance of governance in the companies’ ability to export or import.As part of the ambitious study, the FEMISE economists looked at bilateral exports between 189 trading partners and 19 exporting countries between 1996 and 2013. It transpires that, while democracy and well-functioning institutions are a prerequisite, the business environment not only has an influence on productivity, but also has an effect on the performance of the economy as a whole. Both the trading environment and the institutional framework impact corporate performance and the country’s economic vitality.

The importance of consistent governance in facilitating trade


The governance in Middle-Eastern and North African countries is a major factor in their businesses’ ability to trade and participate in the global economy. ©DR

The study shows that, in the wake of the Arab Spring, new criteria came to the fore. Thus, invoicing and accounting are seen as determining factors in boosting exports.

The business world needs a stable environment, especially where property rights are concerned. Respect for the rule of law, fighting against corruption and an efficient administration boost business relations. Furthermore, two countries with similar governance will see a positive effect on their export levels.

“Similar regulations and the rule of law boost exports in the Middle East. Policies aimed at freeing up trade could therefore be targeted at trading partners with similar norms of governance,” the document states, adding that each of the six governance indicators has a positive impact on bilateral trade.

For more on this timely subject, please download the report available here.

Article produced in partnership with Econostrum.
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The latest FEMISE report (FEM41-08) highlights the obstacles to productivity faced by companies in the Middle East and North Africa. Even before corruption or lack of visibility in the business sector, the taxation burden is the main impediment to corporate productivity. A better understanding of this reality by political circles could encourage companies in becoming more competitive.

Did you know that, in Egypt, companies have to pay 29 different types of taxes and that form-filling alone takes up around 392 hours of work time? Furthermore, the tax levy represents 42.6% of profits. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that the country is at the bottom of the tax burden table 148th out of 189! The FEMISE report reccomends that “in order to boost corporate productivity, the Egyptian government must overhaul its tax policy”.

The report, entitled “Corporate Performance in Transition: The Role of Business Constraints and Institutions in the South Mediterranean Region” (available here) coordinated by Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, professor of economics at the Universitat Jaume I (Spain), Was published in December, 2016.

Twenty-two constraints were identified as being responsible for reducing productivity globally. Undoubtedly, internal factors such as workers’ skills and abilities need to be taken into account when analysing a company’s overall level of competitiveness.

While the tax burden tops the list of impediments, other external factors such as corruption, the lack of visibility in the area of legislation, property prices, access to and the cost of financing, or simply the cost of water and electricity can be real problems for companies.

A new reality after the 2011 revolution

The study looks into the negative effects on corporate efficiency before and after the 2011 revolution. It appears that new obstacles have emerged that have made the business climate less attractive to investors, including regulatory and political uncertainty, corruption and crime. As the report underlines, “The aim of the revolution was to generate economic and social opportunities that would open the way to economic growth and jobs. However, the country has become unstable from a political point of view. This transition period has had a direct impact on efficiency in the private sector.”

Prior to the events of the Arab Spring, interventionist policies were the norm in Egypt, as they were in most Middle-Eastern and North African states. In the report, FEMISE economists also focus on other countries in the region: Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

Here again, indicators of regulatory and political uncertainty, corruption and criminality appear to have worsened. The report concludes, “These results have important political implications. Measures aimed specifically at businesses should enable a reduction in the number of obstacles and, consequently, encourage Egyptian manufacturing companies to become more competitive.”

For more on this subject, please download the report available here

Article produced in partnership with Econostrum.

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Seminars “Challenges in Indonesian Economy: Trade, Growth and Investment” by Associate Professor Nunung Nuryartono, Director, InterCAFE, Bogor Agricultural University, 16 November 2016 “Green Economy and Trade in Indonesia: Entrepreneurship, Enabling Technologies, Green Products and Exports” by Dr Iqbal Irfany, InterCAFE, Bogor Agricultural University, 17 November 2016 “Servicification and Global Value-Chain in Asia: Empirical Analysis” by […]

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On the 18th of November, the Institute for International Trade (IIT) hosted the Launch of the Australia/China Joint Economic Report (ACJER) over breakfast at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Adelaide. The breakfast saw over 150 attendees from various fields of expertise and several speakers including Professor Peter Drysdale, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Australian National University […]

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The University of Adelaide’s Institute for International Trade will have the pleasure of hosting the Adelaide launch of The Australia China Joint Economic Report (ACJER) on the morning of Friday, 18 November 2016. The ACJER is an independent policy report authored by leading researchers in both Australia and China. It draws policy conclusions to guide […]

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On Wednesday, 2 November the Institute for International Trade had the pleasure of hosting a delegation from The Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Areas and Transmigration from Indonesia. This visit provided a valuable opportunity for us to learn more about the Ministry’s ambitious strategy for achieving local economic growth based on local produce, and […]

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This year’s course commenced October 17 in Cape Town with 23 participants. After an intensive 2 week training period covering 3 Modules, the officials sat for their first exam earlier this week in the Trade 5000 course.

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“Time to admit that the WTO’s day is done” was the headline on a piece by Zoe McKenzie in this newspaper last week. Certainly, nobody would deny that progress in the Doha Round has so far been unsatisfactory and that there is more scepticism about trade liberalisation in many parts of the world than 25 […]

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The Institute for International Trade, together with the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide warmly invite alumni, colleagues and friends to a public lecture presented by Professor Iwan Azis. Iwan is Professor (adjunct) at Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, and Professor of Economics at the University of […]

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