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WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.

English

Infrastructure and Trade

This paper explores the role that quality of infrastructure has on a country's trade performance, estimating a gravity model that incorporates bilateral tariffs and a number of indicators for the quality of infrastructure. The paper looks at the impact of the quality of infrastructure (road, airport, port and telecommunication, and the time required for customs clearance) on total bilateral trade and on trade in the automotive, clothing and textile sectors. In order to obtain unbiased estimators, multilateral resistances for tariffs and remoteness are introduced in the gravity equation. Moreover, the robustness of the results is tested by estimating a fixed-effect model, where bilateral indexes of the quality of infrastructure are included. The results can be summarised in four main findings: (i) bilateral tariffs, generally neglected in gravity regression of bilateral flows, have a significant negative impact on trade; (ii) quality of infrastructure is an important determinant of trade performance; (iii) port efficiency appears to have the largest impact on trade among all indicators of infrastructure; (iv) timeliness and access to telecommunication are relatively more important for export competitiveness in the clothing and automotive sector respectively.

English

Keywords: infrastructure, trade, tariffs, resistance terms, gravity model
JEL: F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; F17: International Economics / Trade / Trade: Forecasting and Simulation
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