31 Jul 2015
Special Tax Treatment as Trade Policy: A Database on Export Processing and Special Economic Zones
Deliverable No. 2.1, Working paper on the protectionist nature of certain tax regulations by Ron Davies, University College Dublin and Joseph Francois, WTI
Many countries treat income generated via exports favourably, especially when production takes places in special zones known as export processing zones (EPZs). EPZs can be defined as specific, geographically defined zones or areas that are subject to special administration and that generally offer tax incentives, such as duty‐free imports when producing for export, exemption from other regulatory constraints linked to import for the domestic market, sometimes favourable treatment in terms of industrial regulation, and the streamlining of border clearing procedures. We describe a database of WTO Members that employ special economic zones as part of their industrial policy mix. This is based on WTO notification and monitoring through the WTO’s trade policy review mechanism (TPRM), supplemented with information from the ILO, World Bank, and primary sources. We also provide some rough analysis of the relationship between use of EPZs and the carbon intensity of exports, and relative levels of investment across countries with and without special zones.