Trade policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from a new dataset (Vox EU)

Vox EU: Trade policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from a new dataset. “One of the instruments many governments resorted to in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic was trade policy. This column introduces a new high frequency dataset on trade policy changes targeting medical and food products since the beginning of the pandemic, documenting how countries used such instruments on a week-by-week basis. While there was a burst in trade policy activism in February and March 2020 in tandem with the rise in COVID-19 cases, there was significant variation across governments in their resort to trade policy, the types of measures used, and the duration of interventions.”

UNCTAD: COVID-19 drives large international trade declines in 2020

UNCTAD: COVID-19 drives large international trade declines in 2020. “According to [United Nations Conference on Trade and Development]’s latest nowcasts (run on 8.12.2020), the value of global merchandise trade is predicted to fall by 5.6% in 2020 compared with last year. This would be the biggest fall in merchandise trade since 2009, when trade fell by 22%. This is a significantly more optimistic nowcast than only a few weeks ago when UNCTAD nowcasts were estimating a fall of 9%.”

Shine: China’s foreign investment website gets upgrade

Shine: China’s foreign investment website gets upgrade. “A new version of the official website with foreign investment guidance in China was launched on Thursday at the third China International Import Expo….So far, it has posted cumulatively more than 200,000 articles or briefs in Chinese and English, among which over 12,000 were on laws and regulations, over 15,000 offered statistical data, 80,000 were news items, 2,400 were research reports, and nearly 60,000 were information on outbound investment projects.”

Asian and African Studies Blog: Digitised East India Company ships’ journals and related records

Asian and African Studies Blog: Digitised East India Company ships’ journals and related records. “Enhanced catalogue descriptions have been created for journals of ships that visited ports in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, and these journals have been digitised and are being made freely available on the Qatar Digital Library website as part of the British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership. They constitute an extraordinarily rich and valuable set of primary sources for numerous areas of research, including: the history of global trade networks; encounters between British merchants and crews and diverse people in different parts of Asia, Africa and elsewhere; the origins of British imperialism; rivalry between European powers in Asia; long-distance marine navigation; the experience of everyday life on board ship, and during lengthy voyages, for members of the crew; and historic weather patterns over the course of more than two centuries.”

The imperial roots of global trade: Evidence from a new database (VOX EU)

VOX EU: The imperial roots of global trade: Evidence from a new database. “Throughout history, empires have facilitated trade within their territories by building and securing trade and migration routes, and by imposing common norms, languages, religions, and legal systems, all of which led to the accumulation of imperial capital. This column, based on novel data on the rise and fall of empires over the last 5,000 years, shows that imperial capital has a positive effect on current trade beyond historical legacies such as sharing a language or a religion. This suggests a persistent and previously unexplored influence of long-gone empires on current trade.”

The effect of machine translation on international trade: Evidence from a large digital platform (VoxEU)

VoxEU: The effect of machine translation on international trade: Evidence from a large digital platform. “Recent years have seen dramatic progress in the predictive power of artificial intelligence in many areas, including speech recognition, but empirical evidence documenting its concrete economic effects is largely lacking. This column analyses the effect of the introduction of eBay Machine Translation on eBay’s international trade. The results show that it increased US exports on eBay to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries by 17.5%. By overriding trade-hindering language barriers, AI is already affecting productivity and trade and has significant potential to increase them further.”

SASS Creates Database of Information on “Belt and Road” Countries

Xinhuanet: Belt and Road online database released in Shanghai . “Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Wednesday announced the release of an online database of Belt and Road information. The website … offers free of charge access to writing, data analysis and research findings about 65 Belt and Road countries, said Wang Zhen, deputy chief of the academy.” If you’re wondering what Belt and Road countries are, The Economist has an explanation.. Too bad about that acronym…. I spent a few moments going through the new database and it doesn’t appear to be complete. The entry for Russia, for example, has no data on any political figures.