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Director's Message

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is organizing the Sixth Biannual Conference on Empirical issues in International Trade and Finance (EIITF) during 13-14 December, 2018 at New Delhi. The major themes of the conference this year are 'Technology Disruptions, Global Capital Flows & Firm Stability, Issues for Emerging markets, Trade & Development, etc'.

Today, the world is passing through a difficult phase. On the one hand, the high growth rates around the world till about 2008 accompanied by even higher growth rates in world trade created an euphoria. Subsequently, the world slid into a second recession which is now compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s. World Trade is now more or less at a standstill over the last decade or so although there are tiny signs of some growth in this current year.  What is even more disconcerting is that while income inequalities for skilled workers are decreasing across countries, the gap between wages of skilled and unskilled workers is increasing in every country. It is often claimed that this is particularly due to the frenetic pace at which technology and globalisation have proceeded since about 1990. At the same time, almost perfect mobility of capital and immobility of labour between countries implies that the fine income sharing consensus between capital and labour that emerged after the second world war is breaking down.

Political changes have followed this disruption in almost every country. Another new feature of this decade is that future progress in world income and growth will depend crucially in emerging economies. Finally, the consensus of global trade negotiations through the WTO is now also being threatened.

It is thus clear that issues of technology and its disruptive implications, international capital flows and the importance of emerging markets in the current global architecture are now at center stage. In this conference, it is hoped that senior faculty/policy makers and large number of research presentations will allow the possibility of some new answers emerging in the field of international trade and finance.

The conference aims to have fruitful academic and policy discussion among the researchers and build a platform for exchange of ideas on the 21st century advancement in trade and investment. Disruptive technological progress is having an unprecedented impact on flows of goods and services. Economic theories are struggling to catch the reality. Researchers around the world are keenly observing the phenomena and studying its consequence on dynamics of comparative advantage, employment pattern, global value chain, emergence of new age tech-firms and mergers & acquisition, etc. There is also a visible structural change towards more protectionism and emergence of nationalistic industrial policy. The conference will discuss various scholastic works which make attempt to analyse these incidences and explain the 'new reality' along with its impact on economic growth and development especially their ability to overcome the consequences of the global crisis.

India being one of the fastest growing economies has improved its rank on 'ease of doing business' and expects for a larger capital inflow in coming days. It is well known for its frugal innovations and concerted efforts to adapt advanced technologies. The conference will also discuss how India is absorbing technological change in its production system; what are their impact on employment pattern, productivity change and international competitiveness; how capital flow acts as catalyst for productivity gain, etc.

The EIITF conference, which is being held at a crucial juncture, intends to generate academic discussions on past lessons and future policy dimensions. While wishing the conference all success, I sincerely hope that it will bring up new policy dimensions for the academic community participating in the conference and will deepen their knowledge of the complex processes, benefiting from each other’s rich experience.

Prof. Manoj Pant