ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Is India Digitally Prepared for International Trade?

India’s digital infrastructure and the value added by digital services to its exports are analysed in order to assess its digital preparedness in the context of international trade. The results show that India lags behind many developing and developed countries in this area. In order to boost India’s trade competitiveness in the digital era, a Digitally-Informed Foreign Trade Policy is advocated that would aim to improve India’s digital infrastructure for trade, enhance the digital content in its exports, build digital skills in tradeable sectors, promote the use of digital technologies in manufacturing exports, and use big data analytics to inform foreign trade policy.

New Issues in Multilateral Trade Negotiations

The declaration of the World Trade Organization's 10th ministerial conference in Nairobi provides a leeway for "new issues" to enter the multilateral trade agreements. Some of these issues have appeared in mega Free Trade Agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. WTO debated bringing some of these under its ambit in its Singapore ministerial in 1996, only to jettison most of them by 2004. But trade and investment, trade and competition policy, transparency in government procurement, "labour standards" and provisions around state-owned enterprises could make their way to multilateral agreements after the Nairobi meeting, posing serious challenges to developing and least developed countries.

Trade Facilitation and 'Hollowing-out' of Indian Manufacturing

Since the early 2000s, India's manufacturing sector has been showing signs of "hollowing-out" - domestic value addition in total output has been steadily declining, both in the aggregate manufacturing as well as disaggregated manufacturing industries. This has also been accompanied by falling domestic value addition in exports, even in traditional export-oriented industries. In this context, the article discusses the likely implications of the new WTO (World Trade Organization) Trade Facilitation Agreement on India's manufacturing sector.

Contribution of Services to Output Growth and Productivity in Indian Manufacturing

As an input into the production process, services are playing an increasingly important role in manufacturing industries the world over. Yet, this has received very little attention in the empirical economic literature on producer behaviour and productivity. This paper estimates the contribution of services to output growth and productivity in Indian manufacturing using the capital-labour-energy-materials-services production function. Panel data estimations are undertaken for 148 three-digit level industries for 18 years, 1980-81 to 1997-98 and sources of growth are analysed. The results show that the contribution of services input to output and productivity growth in manufacturing (organised) has increased substantially in the 1990s. One of the major causes for this is found to be the trade reforms undertaken in the post-1990s period.

Ownership and Efficiency in Engineering Firms: 1990-91 to 1999-2000

The paper analyses the effect of ownership on efficiency of engineering firms in India in the 1990s, a decade of major economic reforms. Technical efficiency of firms, estimated with help of a stochastic frontier production function, is considered for the analysis. A comparison of technical efficiency is made among three groups of firms in Indian engineering: (i) firms with foreign ownership, (ii) domestically owned private sector firms, and (iii) public sector firms. The results clearly indicate that foreign firms in Indian engineering industry have higher technical efficiency than domestically owned firms. No significant difference in technical efficiency is found between private sector and public sector firms among the domestically owned firms. There are indications of a process of efficiency convergence - the domestically owned firms tending to catch up with foreign owned firms in terms of technical efficiency.

Impact of Japanese and US FDI on Productivity Growth

This paper examines the impact of Japanese and US foreign direct investments (FDI) on total factor productivity growth of firms in the Indian automobile, electrical and chemical industries in the post-reforms period. The results show that Japanese affiliation has a significant positive impact on productivity growth in a firm while the impact of US affiliation is not found to be significant. The results also show that domestic firms have witnessed both efficiency growth as well as technological progress in the electrical and chemical industries in the post-reforms period.

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