Vice Chacellor's Message

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is organizing the Seventh Biannual Conference on Empirical issues in International Trade and Finance (EIITF) during 16-17 December, 2021 at Kolkata Campus. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented disruption in global trade and economy. Both lives and livelihood faced a jolt and the production scaled back across the globe. Most of the economies have become even more inward looking. However, international co-operation is needed to keep trade flowing. This 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, more so in the post- Covid-19 scenario. The theme of the conference this year is ‘Trade, Finance, and Development: Contemporary Issues’. The sub-themes for the conference include International trade and organization of Firms and Business, Product-mix, Quality and International Trade, Trade and Welfare, Unilateralism vs. Multilateralism and Role of WTO, Stabilization Policies and Developmental issues in an Open Economy, Corporate Finance and Governance, Risk Management and Quantitative Finance, Financial Markets and Institutions, Financial Technology, etc.

In the last couple of years, the principles of trade liberalization have often faced serious resistance, from within and across countries. The slow pace of reforms at WTO incrementally reduces the incentive for Member countries to rely on the multilateral forum for trade and investment promotion. In this context, the recent US standpoint on appointment of Appellate Body jurists puts the WTO dispute settlement process in a standstill, thereby lowering the attraction of multilateral conflict resolution processes further. The gradual shift towards neo-protectionism in general and imposition of retaliatory tariff measures between China and the US in particular have already taken a toll on the global manufacturing employment scenario and may disrupt the global value chain considerably. The labour market related concerns also slow down the movement of professionals in service trade category. The emerging quest to safeguard national interest has led to quite a few withdrawals from Regional Trade Agreements in recent times, namely – USA’s pullout from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), i.e., Brexit. The recent Indian call to bail out of the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP) needs to be viewed in this wider context as also the call to renegotiate the Indo-ASEAN FTA.

The looming uncertainty on trade and economic front influences the stability in financial markets as well. Besides, continuous persuasion of accommodating monetary policy across the globe since the global financial crisis has led to a substantial decline in interest rates in international markets. This, in turn, has led investors to take a greater risk and exposure in search of higher yield causing stretched valuation in certain sectors in several countries. It can be noted from the Global Financial Stability Report (IMF, 2019), corporate sector vulnerabilities have also heightened in recent years – corporate debt-at-risk (corporate earnings not being able to meet interest expenses with their earnings) is expected to reach 40 percent of total outstanding corporate debt in major economies in case of an economic slowdown only half as severe as the one during the global financial crisis about a decade ago. Lower interest rates have also caused institutional investors to allocate an increasing proportion of assets into high-risk and illiquid securities. There has been an increase in build-up of foreign debt in several emerging market economies which wanted to exploit the low interest rates and surplus liquidity in global markets. In the recent times, cryptocurrency has taken an important role in the world market as an asset class as well as a medium of exchange. A few major economies are even accepting cross-border transactions via cryptocurrency. Several countries, including India, are working on introducing their own digital currency (CBDC). India is yet to acknowledge payment through cryptocurrency. The government of India is coming out with a regulation to monitor the cryptocurrency market and is unlikely to accept it as a global currency. The emergence of instruments like cryptocurrency will certainly have an immense impact on the global trade patterns in near future.

The EIITF conference 2021, is hosted on hybrid mode due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The year 2020-21 has already witnessed unprecedented health crisis leading to major disruptions in the developmental progress. Even though the conference is hosted in the hybrid mode, its academic intent to find some novel answers to the emerging challenges in the field of international trade and finance through discussion on the technical analysis by the participants can certainly ensure rich deliberations. While wishing the conference all success, I sincerely hope that the EIITF 2021 will bring up new suggestions on the policy front. For all its complexity Economists must continue to drive policy in countries.

Prof. Manoj Pant



The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) was set up in 1963 by the Government of India as an autonomous organisation to help professionalise the country's foreign trade management and increase exports by developing human resources; generating, analysing and disseminating data; and conducting research. Today it is one of India's most prestigious business schools.

No registration fee. But, it's mandatory to register by giving all your relevant details to submit a paper.

The Conference aims to have intellectual discourse on issues related to international trade and finance and provide platform to the researchers for communicating their views on their intellectual standing of empirical research in international economics.

To encourage young researchers who are currently pursuing PhD in the area of international trade and finance a separate track is added in the Conference. The session is open for all doctoral students pursuing PhD in Indian universities ( or recently submitted their thesis but degree is awaited).