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Taxation and Trade Arindam Das-Gupta. Outline - 8 effects on trade t Taxes can cause trade t Trade taxes reduce trade and welfare t Differential tariffs.

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Presentation on theme: "Taxation and Trade Arindam Das-Gupta. Outline - 8 effects on trade t Taxes can cause trade t Trade taxes reduce trade and welfare t Differential tariffs."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taxation and Trade Arindam Das-Gupta

2 Outline - 8 effects on trade t Taxes can cause trade t Trade taxes reduce trade and welfare t Differential tariffs distort production and trade patterns t Tariffs increase non-traded goods demand t Trade taxes cause smuggling and forex black markets t Costly customs procedures reduce trade – like a tariff t Trade liberalisation can boosts revenue – or not t Trade effects of different domestic taxes depend on incidence

3 Outline - plus 7 more... t Can VAT revenue replace lost trade tax revenue? Maybe or maybe not. t Taxes distort investment in exports - including services t International incidence of tax depends on monopoly power in traded goods t Tax competition or tax relief can distort factor movements instead of trade t Tax havens reduce tax bases and are being cooperatively combated t Globalization reduces domestic tax bases t Other policy instruments can also impact international trade

4 Importance of trade and trade taxes


6 Taxes can cause trade: Example 1 A: No tax equilibrium Tax imposed on X 1 X 1 : exported good post tax X 2 : imported good post tax B: Post tax equilibrium

7 Trade creation and diversion with customs unions: Example 2 t Customs union: levy lower (or no) import tariffs on members and common tariffs on non-members t Leads to increased trade between members (trade creation) t Less trade with non-member countries (trade diversion)

8 Trade taxes and trade t Impact trade and welfare negatively t Non-tariff barriers (quotas) have similar effects - if quota is auctioned by govt. –else quote revenues go to quota holder and there are income effects on trade –rent seeking may also occur t Differential trade taxes or other taxes distort trade patterns

9 Effects of tariffs on trade and welfare B+A: welfare loss from tariff t m

10 Effects of export taxes on trade and welfare B+A welfare loss from export tax t e

11 Differential tariffs distort production and trade Good 1 - High TariffGood 2 - Low Tariff

12 Tariffs increase non-traded goods and reduce traded goods production Traded GoodsNon-Traded Goods

13 Trade taxes cause smuggling and forex black markets t Smuggling –Real resources used to avoid payment of tax –Nexus with corruption –Are bribes more efficient than smuggling? t Impact on forex black markets (hawala) with exchange rationing leading to a forex premium –premium serves as surrogate tariff –tariff increase causes premium to fall

14 Trade tax administration and trade t Customs procedures impact imports and exports like trade taxes - without revenue benefits. t Customs streamlining can boost trade and so trade tax revenue. –Customs cooperation also facilitated by harmonised goods classification and automation t Some customs reforms can help curb under- over-invoicing and smuggling, increasing revenue - has conflicting effects on trade. –Pre-shipment inspection may help or hurt government revenue

15 Revenue effects of trade liberalisation t If trade causes growth, revenue should rise if buoyancy is positive. t Replacing QRs by tariffs should boost revenue t Both in theory and empirically lower tariffs impact on trade tax revenue indeterminate: Laffer curve t Sufficient tariff lowering must reduce revenue t Theory and empirical evidence on possibility of replacing tariff revenue by domestic tax revenue conflict.

16 Domestic taxes and trade t Key difference between domestic consumption taxes and import duties: import duty discriminates against imports. t Backward shifted taxes are borne by inputs and do not impact trade. t Extent of forward shifting critical: Non-trade taxes effect trade if they are forward shifted to buyers of products via higher prices –E.g.1 Corporate taxes can raise capital costs and so production costs Foreign tax credits limit importance of this on trade (greater impact on factor flows) –Eg. 2 Taxes on intermediate inputs, (fuel excise) can have similar effects - they cannot be credited. –If these tax-induced effects are sector specific, they impact relative costs and trade via impacts on both consumption and production.

17 Impact of forward shifted production taxes on trade

18 Backward shifted taxes and mixed shifting t Studies for the US suggest this case obtains via the corporation tax –No direct impact on international trade –Impact is through lowered domestic investment t Resource taxes also usually shifted backward t Wage taxes part forward and part backward shifted

19 Tariffs versus VAT t Are broad-based consumption taxes superior to trade taxes? –Keen-Ligthart: If all goods are tradeable then a tariff cut that raises the value of domestic production plus combined with higher consumption tax which leaves domestic prices the same leads to higher welfare and revenue! VAT base (consumption versus imports) is larger than tariff base: To raise a given revenue a lower tax rate can be used: less distortion. But a VAT is seldom a pure VAT: itself distortionary: More evasion prone in poor countries? Revenue result requires qualification with non- traded goods or intermediate goods Can fail with imperfect competition if tariff revenue is lost as rent to exporters

20 Price neutral replacement of a tariff with a consumption tax Production with tariff at b Production with VAT at e abcd: tariff revenue acfg: VAT revenue

21 Revenue effect of VAT replacing tariffs: empirical evidence t More open economies introducing a VAT may lose revenue (Ebrill et. al. 2001). t Finding contrary to theory suggesting importance of caveats (non-traded & intermediate goods, imperfect competition). t VAT may have boosted export tax revenue due to credit-invoice mechanism (Ebrill, et. al., 1999). t Caveat: lowering tariffs somewhat does not always lead to revenue loss (e.g. less smuggling/bribes).

22 Tax shifting and its impact on production costs and trade

23 Domestic tax effects on services; Tax exporting t If non-traded goods bear a lower effective tax than traded goods (e.g. housing, services) then more investment in non-traded goods and so less demand/supply of traded goods. t Services tend to be lightly taxed so service taxation promotes trade in goods t Export of services increasingly important: Service taxes reduce export cost advantage. t If taxes are origin based then exporting countries are able to export tax - revenue benefits if countries are not small.

24 Globalization Issues

25 Tax competition, double tax relief and factor movements t If tax competition succeeds in attracting foreign factors (FDI or skilled labour) this may act as a substitute for trade. t Similarly with tax incentives t Tax treaties and unilateral tax sparing can have similar effects. t Tax havens have no real effect but lead to lower revenues in non-haven countries due to changed ownership

26 Tax havens: The OECDs Harmful Tax Competition (HTC) Initiative t Tax havens: countries with tax regimes designed to attract investments/transactions that are motivated by tax avoidance with laws of other countries. t OECD: Criteria for identification of HTC by uncooperative tax havens. –Secrecy laws/practices to prevent exchange of information for tax purposes with other governments on its residents –Lack of transparency (e.g. accounting/auditing rules lax or non-standard). –No requirement that activity be substantial for preferential tax. t OECD to adopt common defensive measures.

27 Effects of globalization on tax bases t Globalization my decrease national revenue bases, especially of poor countries. –Most countries will find it increasingly difficult to tax mobile factors - and capital/skilled labour mobility is increasing. –International pressure to also decrease trade taxes most important in poor countries –OECD restrictions on attracting legal ownership t Likely increase in importance of consumption taxes and wage taxes

28 Conclusions t Trade off between growth from globalization and fiscal capacity t Plight of immobile factors t With globalization, importance of tax information exchange t Search for new revenue sources t Impact of regulations and expenditure versus taxes

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