This paper explores the implications of cross-border production networks and vertical intra-industry trade for macroeconomic adjustment and for the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal stabilization policies. Vertical intra-industry trade introduces direct links between countries’ imports and exports and thereby affects the manner in which trade balances respond to variations in exchange rates and to global shocks more generally. The precise effects depend on whether the direct link runs from exports to imports or vice versa. In the U.S., for example, exports of auto parts and components rise with an increase of imports of passenger vehicles from Mexico. This produces a change in balance-of-payments adjustment similar to high capital mobility and raises the likelihood that a fiscal expansion will lead to appreciation rather than depreciation of the currency. In China and Mexico, on the other hand, a rise in exports of assembled end products raises imports of parts and components. The differences in outcome are more pronounced under floating rates, because of the role of the exchange rate in the adjustment process. Direct export-import links undermine the impact of the exchange rate on the trade balance, hence necessitating larger changes in rates in order to achieve a given degree of adjustment and raising exchange-rate volatility as a result. In the case of both types of exchange-rate regime, vertical intra-industry trade weakens the response of the trade balance to price and income shocks.
© 2010 Association of Korean Economic Studies
Arndt, Sven W. 2010. Intra-industry Trade and the Open Economy. Korea and the World Economy 11(3): 551-568.