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Trade Competitiveness of the Middle East and North Africa : Policies for Export Diversification


  • Jose R. Lopez-Calix
  • Peter Walkenhorst
  • Ndiame Diop


International trade was deeply affected by the global financial and economic crisis. Mimicking worldwide trends, imports from and exports to the Middle East and North Africa dropped significantly in 2009. This sudden decline in global trade should not divert attention away from four major developments in global economic integration that have shaped the region's trade policies and performance over the past decade: the emergence of global supply chains, the growth of trade in services, the rise of China and India as major international trading powers, and regional integration. The first development is the rise of global production networks in which different stages of the production of a single good occur at different locations. As a result of this development, consumer products often contain parts, components, and inputs from a large number of countries. The second major trend relates to trade in services. With the wave of liberalization and of information and communications-related technological developments, off-shoring in services such as back-office work processes, call center operations, medical transcription, accounting, and legal research has boomed. India is a good example of a country that has hugely benefited from this trend. The third important development is the emergence of China and India as new trade, innovation, and growth poles alongside the United States and Europe. The fourth development is the increase in regional and preferential trade agreements, which have been proliferating, not least because progress in multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization has been slow. Integration with selected partners can help countries reap benefits from international integration while avoiding the large-scale adjustment needs that are often associated with broader-based trade reforms. The Middle East and North Africa comprises countries that are resource-poor but labor-abundant, resource-rich and labor-abundant, and resource-rich and labor-importing, each displaying its own idiosyncrasies. The eleven chapters of this volume examine the region's trade policy reforms and performance by focusing on the four key developments in international trade, with a twist. Instead of examining production chains as such, the volume focuses on export diversification (part one), a major development challenge in the region, especially for oil exporters. It then explores services trade (part two), the relations with China and India (part three), and regional integration (part four).

Suggested Citation

  • Jose R. Lopez-Calix & Peter Walkenhorst & Ndiame Diop, 2010. "Trade Competitiveness of the Middle East and North Africa : Policies for Export Diversification," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2466, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:2466

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    2. Hoekman, Bernard & Konan, Denise, 1999. "Deep Integration, Non-Discrimination and Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 2095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Konan, Denise Eby & Maskus, Keith E., 2006. "Quantifying the impact of services liberalization in a developing country," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 142-162, October.
    4. Matías Berthelon, 2004. "Growth Effects of Regional Integration Agreements," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 278, Central Bank of Chile.
    5. Philippa Dee & Jyothi Gali, 2005. "The Trade and Investment Effects of Preferential Trading Arrangements," NBER Chapters, in: International Trade in East Asia, pages 133-176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Florence Jaumotte, 2004. "Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Trade Agreements; The Market Size Effect Revisited," IMF Working Papers 04/206, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan H. Gelb & Arnaud Dupuy & Rabah Arezki, 2012. "Resource Windfalls, Optimal Public Investment and Redistribution; The Role of Total Factor Productivity and Administrative Capacity," IMF Working Papers 12/200, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Jose Guilherme Reis & Thomas Farole, 2012. "Trade Competitiveness Diagnostic Toolkit," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2248, February.
    3. Sándor Richter, 2012. "Regional Trade Integration in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons from Central Europe," FIW Policy Brief series 014, FIW.
    4. World Bank, "undated". "Middle East and North Africa Economic Developments and Prospects, January 2011 : Sustaining the Recovery and Looking Beyond
      [Région du Moyen-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord – Maintenir la reprise et
      ," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12438, The World Bank.
    5. Konstantaras, Konstantinos & Philippas, Dionisis & Siriopoulos, Costas, 2018. "Trade asymmetries in the Mediterranean basin," The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 13-20.
    6. El-Haddad, Amirah, 2018. "Exporting for growth: identifying leading sectors for Egypt and Tunisia using the Product Space Methodology," Discussion Papers 25/2018, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    7. Bourdet, Yves & Persson, Maria, 2011. "Reaping the Benefits of Deeper Euro-Med Integration Through Trade Facilitation," Working Papers 2011:15, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    8. Jean-Pierre Chauffour & Bernard M., 2013. "Harnessing Trade Opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa," RSCAS Working Papers PP2013/07, European University Institute.
    9. Joao Ricardo Faria & Peter McAdam, 2013. "From Social Contract to Arab Spring: Macroeconomic Adjustment under Regime Change," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0813, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    10. Roesmara Donna, Duddy & Widodo, Tri & Adiningsih, Sri, 2017. "Pattern of Comparative Advantage in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)," MPRA Paper 78109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Luc Désiré Omgba, 2016. "On the mobilization of domestic resources in oil countries: The role of historical factors," WIDER Working Paper Series 154, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).


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