Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 48, June 2018

Collaboration or Co-optation? A review of the Platform for Collaboration on Tax

The Platform for Collaboration on Tax (PCT), launched in April 2016, is an effort to intensify cooperation on tax issues among the staff of the OECD, IMF, World Bank and the United Nations.  The PCT’s stated objectives include the production of joint outputs, strengthening interactions between standard setting, capacity building and technical assistance and sharing information. PCT has since produced toolkits on issues such as tax incentives, transfer pricing, and taxation of offshore indirect transfers. The PCT also held its first global conference in February 2018 at the UN where a concluding ‘conference statement’, negotiated among the four secretariats, was produced.

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Policy Brief 47, June 2018

Renewed crises in emerging economies and the IMF ‒ Muddling through again?

As recognised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global financial safety net including international reserves, Fund resources, bilateral swap arrangements, regional financing arrangements is “fragmented with uneven coverage” and “too costly, unreliable and conducive to moral hazard”.  Given the aversion of emerging economies to the IMF and unilateral debt standstills and exchange controls, the next crisis is likely to be even messier than the previous ones.  Some countries may seek and succeed in getting bilateral support from China or some reserve-currency countries according to their political stance and affiliation.  In such cases, crisis intervention would become even more politicised than in the past and a lot less reliant on multilateral arrangements.  By failing to establish an orderly and equitable system of crisis resolution, the IMF may very well find its role significantly diminished in the management of the next bout of crises in emerging economies.  In other words, multilateralism, however imperfect, could face another blow in the sphere of finance after trade.

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 2, May 2018

Transfer Pricing: Concepts and Practices of the ‘Sixth Method’ in Transfer Pricing

Many developing countries are particularly concerned with problems of transfer pricing in the extractive industries, which are often significant components of their economies. Similar to other sectors, profit attribution may be highly dependent on the valuation of commodity exports. For this reason, a number of developing countries have adopted the ‘Sixth Method’, following the Argentine experience. This method aims to establish a clear and easily administered benchmark and avoid the need for subjective judgment and discretion.

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 1, May 2018

Ecuador and Its Fight Against Tax Havens

Taxation has been a key tool in improving Ecuador’s Gini coefficient. Ecuador has improved how it manages tax collection and implemented domestic anti-fraud regulations and international mechanisms concerning aspects such as transfer pricing and tax havens. These measures have helped to increase the tax base, which has had a positive impact on the redistribution of wealth and equality. The increase in the tax base has also led to more social investments in health care, education, the road infrastructure, etc.

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Investment Policy Brief 11, May 2018

The Cooperation and Facilitation Investment Agreement (CFIA) in the context of the discussions on the reform of the ISDS system

The Brazilian Cooperation and Facilitation Investment Agreement (CFIA) model establishes an alternative approach to dispute resolution. This does not mean, however, that the CFIA is silent with regards to possible disputes arising from breaches to the agreement and/or claims by investors. Based on the premise that the investment regime between two or more countries is a positive-sum game, in which all parties involved win, the CFIA presents an approach based on the prevention of disputes.

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Policy Brief 46, March 2018

Outcomes of the 142nd session of the WHO Executive Board

The 142nd session of the WHO Executive Board discussed several critical public health issues including a recommendation to the WHA to approve the General Program of Work (GPW), the adoption of important decisions relating to access to medicines and research and development and a draft resolution on the preparation of the UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis.

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Investment Policy Brief 10, February 2018

How international investment agreements have made debt restructuring even more difficult and costly

International investment and trade agreements are legally binding international treaties which give investors an additional layer of legal protection on top of the host country law and contract law.  However, little efforts have been made in ironing out the interface between these different laws and treaties. Inconsistencies and even contradictions have emerged in dispute settlement decisions, sometimes at the expense of public good, sovereignty and financial and economic stability. An asymmetry seems to exist in the allocation of risks and benefits between investors and recipients of investments. (more…)

Climate Policy Brief 20, February 2018

Overview of outcomes of the November  2017 UNFCCC climate talks

The annual climate change talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the Paris Agreement (PA) took place in Bonn, Germany, on 6-18 November 2017, ending a day later than scheduled due to last-minute wrangling among Parties, mainly over issues related to finance.

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Policy Brief 45, October 2017

The Value Added of the United Nations General Assembly High–Level Political Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance

In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York held a dedicated meeting to muster strong political commitment for an effective global response to the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As a result, a High-Level Political Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance was adopted.

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Policy Brief 44, August 2017

Industrialization, inequality and sustainability: What kind of industry policy do we need?

The 2030 Agenda includes as Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) the commitment to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The entry of this goal into the 2030 Agenda is an achievement for developing countries who have a very diverse situation in terms of population sizes, per capita incomes, economic sizes and structures, political systems, cultures but share the common feature of an underdeveloped industrial sector.Therefore, in order to implement SDG 9 pro-active industry policies are needed that take into account aspects of inequality and sustainability.

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Policy Brief 43, August 2017

The Financial Crisis and the Global South: Impact and Prospects

The world economy has not still recovered from the effects of the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago first in the US and then in Europe.  Policy response to the crisis, the combination of fiscal restraint and ultra-easy monetary policy, has not only failed to bring about a robust recovery but has also aggravated systemic problems in the global economy, notably inequality and chronic demand gap, on the one hand, and financial fragility, on the other. It has generated strong destabilizing spillovers to the Global South.  (more…)

Policy Brief 42, July 2017

The Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned and Unlearned

Much of what has recently been written about the Asian crisis on the occasion of its 20th anniversary praises the lessons drawn from the crisis and the measures implemented thereupon.  But they often fail to appreciate that while these might have been effective in preventing the crisis in 1997, they may be inadequate and even counterproductive today because they entail deeper integration into global finance.

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