Working Paper
EMU and the Developing Countries

The purpose of this paper is to explore economic and political implications of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) for developing countries. In strictly economic terms, influences will be communicated through both trade and financial channels. Economies in the developing world will be affected by changes in European growth rates as well as by EMU's impact on transactions costs and enterprise competitiveness within Europe; they will also be impacted by changes in the structure and efficiency of Europe's capital markets. Modifications may be anticipated in borrowing and investment practices at the private level as well as in reserve and debt-management policies at the official level. In political terms, developing countries will be most directly influenced by the anticipated rivalry between Europe's new single currency, the euro, and the dollar, which will compel developing countries to reconsider their own national currency strategies. Three conclusions stand out. First, except for selected groups of countries with particularly close ties to the EU, most economic linkages appear marginal at best. It is much easier to enumerate possible channels of transmission than to find many that appear quantitatively significant. Second, among economic effects of EMU, financial channels seem to matter more than trade channels. And third, across the full range of possible linkages, the most lasting influences for developing countries may well turn out, notably, to be political rather than either trade or financial. Significant changes are likely in exchange-rate regimes in many parts of the developing world.