International Economy - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   India has emerged as the ___ largest exporter of agri products internationally according to Commerce Ministry.
- Published on 14 Jun 17

a. 5th
b. 6th
c. 7th
d. 8th
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 7th

Explanation:
Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia, while addressing the 22nd APEDA Export award function in New Delhi on 12 June 2017, announced that India has emerged as the 7th largest exporter of agri-products globally.

There is a significant increase in the exports of food products from the country and it represents more than 12 percent of total exports.

Total merchandise exports during 2016-2017 are more than 276 billion dollars out of which agricultural exports comprised nearly 33 billion dollars.

Indian food products are majorly exported to countries such as Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran, Iraq and Nepal.

Further, the exporters even in times of economic slowdown have continued to grow and added that opportunities in newer markets have to be searched for further growth.

The awards function witnessed the presentation of 82 APEDA awards for the year 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. It included 2 Diamond Trophies, 33 Gold, 29 Silver and 18 Bronze awards.

APEDA: Know More

  • It is an apex body of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, to promote the export of agricultural commodities and processed food products.
  • APEDA links Indian exporters to global markets besides providing comprehensive export-oriented services.
  • It provides referral services and suggests suitable partners for joint ventures.
  • Its export basket ranges from typically Indian ethnic products like pickles, chutneys, sauces to rice, honey, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, beverages, poultry, agri-products, food grains and other Indian delicacies.


2)   What does UNOSSC stand for, in the context of the UN?
- Published on 12 Jun 17

a. United Nation’s Office for Southern-South Cooperation
b. United Nation’s Office for South-Southern Cooperation
c. United Nation’s Office for South-South Cooperation
d. United Nation’s Office for Southern-Southern Cooperation
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: United Nation’s Office for South-South Cooperation

Explanation:
India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) on 8 June 2017 launched a partnership fund to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the developing world.

The fund was launched on the occasion of the World Oceans Day at a special ceremony held at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund will implement country-level projects that are catalytic towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The initiative is aimed at reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water, energy and livelihoods.

The fund will focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

CEWSPIC: Know More

  • Initially, the fund will start with an initial contribution of USD 1 million for its first project Climate Early Warning System in Pacific Island Countries (CEWSPIC).
  • CEWSPIC Project was formulated by India and the UN Development Programme in consultation with the governments of Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tonga.
  • The project will increase resilience to natural disasters in these seven Pacific island countries.


3)   India moved the WTO against US on what matter?
- Published on 12 Jun 17

a. Imposition of high import duty on certain Indian iron and steel products
b. Imposition of high import duty on certain Indian steel products
c. Imposition of high import duty on certain Indian iron products
d. Imposition of high import duty on certain Indian zinc products
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Imposition of high import duty on certain Indian steel products

Explanation:
India has moved the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the US as it has not yet complied with the rulings of the WTO pertaining to imposition of high import duty on certain Indian steel products.

In December 2014, the WTO’s appellate body pronounced a ruling against the act of US which is imposing high import duty on certain Indian steel products.

It had ruled that the imposition of import duty on steel products was inconsistent with various provisions of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

The Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (the SCM Agreement) - addresses two separate but closely related matters

1. The multilateral disciplines on the use of subsidies and the
2. Conditions under which Members may apply countervailing measures.

India has sought consultation with the US for compliance of the WTO’s rulings.

If the US refuses to comply then India has planned to approach the WTO’s compliance panel.

In order to comply with the WTO rulings on countervailing duties on imports of hot-rolled carbon steel products from India, the US needs to amend its domestic norms.

Earlier, the US had moved the arbitration panel of the World Trade Organisation against India as it complained that India had failed to remove trade restrictions on American poultry.

WTO: Know More

  • The WTO is an inter-governmental organization for governments to negotiate global trade agreements and progressively liberalizing trade.
  • The WTO operates a system of trade rules that apply to all its members. The World Trade Organisation is also a place for Member governments to settle their trade disputes.
  • It’s located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It was established on 1 January 1995 and its official languages are English, French and Spanish. Countervailing duties are those duties that are imposed by a country to counter the negative impact of import subsidies to protect domestic producers.


4)   Illicit outflow of black money in 2014 was $____ billion, according to GFI.
- Published on 03 May 17

a. 21
b. 31
c. 25
d. 35
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 21

Explanation:
Over $21 billion worth of black money was illegally taken out of India in 2014, according to the latest report by the international watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

This illicit outflow was nearly 19% more than that recorded the previous year.

GFI has, for the first time, given information on the equally damaging inflow of illegal funds in this report, with India being the destination of a staggering $101 billion in 2014, up nearly 11% over the previous year.

Globally, the report estimates that between $620 and $970 billion was drained out of the developing world, primarily through trade fraud.

Illicit inflows are estimated at a mind boggling $1.4-2.5 trillion.

Combined, illicit outflows and inflows accounted for 14-24% of total developing country trade over 2005-2014.

This year's GFI report stands out from its previous reports for adopting a much more rigorous method of collecting and analysing information on international trade and balance of payments.

Besides using IMF global data on direction of trade, the report has included information from other sources to plug gaps.

Inclusion of Swiss data on gold exports, that was earlier omitted, has led to a drastic revision of India's outflow and inflow figures.

Although both the lower and higher ends are described by the economists as “conservative” because it is difficult to trace all illicit transactions, the higher-end estimates are closer to previous years' estimates while the lower ones take into account only trade gaps with advanced economies.

About 87% of the global illicit financial flows are happening through trade misinvoicing

Recommending a slew of measures, the report primarily suggests a much better trained and equipped customs staff and stricter scrutiny of trade deals.

It also indicates global cooperation in exchanging information on bank accounts, especially in tax havens.


5)   Which country has topped the WEF list on travel and tourism competitiveness?
- Published on 19 Apr 17

a. Spain
b. India
c. Germany
d. UK
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Spain

Explanation:
Spain has, once again, topped the World Economic Forum's (WEF) list on travel and tourism competitiveness.

WEF's biennial report is based on the theme 'paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future'. France and Germany continue to be ranked second and third respectively, depicting no change from the 2015 edition.

Surprise entry in the top five countries is Japan, which is ranked at number four, a jump of five places from the last time the rankings were released.

Japan is said to have a great tourist inflow because of two-fold reasons of 'unique cultural resources and business'.

India was ranked at 40, a considerable jump of 12 places from 2015. Asia-Pacific also emerged as the most-improved region.

War-torn country Yemen was ranked the last of the analysed nations, at 136, still a jump of two places. African countries Burundi and Chad were ranked 134 and 135, respectively.

Azerbaijan at 71st position is one of the most improved economies this year, rising 13 places in the global rankings.

According to the report, the travel and tourism industry contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy (10.2 per cent of global GDP) and generated 292 million jobs (1 in 10 jobs on the planet) in 2016.


6)   Which country's economy beat its government target in the first quarter of 2017?
- Published on 18 Apr 17

a. China
b. India
c. Pakistan
d. Bangladesh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: China

Explanation:
China’s economy beat the government target and grew by 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 mainly due to a surge in infrastructure investment and export.

The growth was well above the full-year target of 6.5 per cent, and the 6.8 per cent increase registered in the fourth quarter of 2016, as per China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

The GDP reached 18.07 trillion yuan ($2.63 trillion) in the first quarter.

The official data also suggested a pick-up in domestic consumption as February retail sales jumped 10.9 per cent from the previous year.

China is trying to boost domestic consumption to shift focus of its export reliant economy, which is also driven by massive state investments in improving the infrastructure.

Also, China’s exports, which were on a declining trend in recent years, showed increase in Q1 in Yuan terms.

China’s exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 14.8 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, while imports increased 31.1 per cent.

Foreign trade volume reached 6.2 trillion yuan (about $902 billion) in the first quarter, up 21.8 per cent year on year.

China’s fixed-asset investment (FAI) grew 9.2 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of 2017, quickening from the 8.9 per cent growth registered in the first two months.

The FAI includes capital spent on infrastructure, property, machinery and other physical assets.

Private sector FAI, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the total FAI, grew 7.7 per cent in the first quarter.

This is accelerating from the 6. 7 per cent registered in the first two months.

FAI by state-owned enterprises climbed 13.6 per cent year on year during the period, and infrastructure investment expanded 23.5 per cent in the first quarter.

China’s value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 6.8 per cent year on year in the first quarter, compared with the 6.3 per cent increase for January to February, the NBS data said.

The 6.8 per cent growth rose from the 5.8 per cent increase in the same period of 2016. It was also higher than the 6 per cent annual gain seen in 2016, NBS said.

China Banking Association has estimated country’s bad loans totalled to a whopping $220 billion last year.

Bad loans by commercial banks totalled 1.5 trillion yuan ($220 billion) at the end of 2016.

The biggest borrower is urban infrastructure projects, followed by the medical sector.


7)   What are the features of the new 12 sided British pound coin?
- Published on 29 Mar 17

a. Hologram that changes from a pound symbol to a numeral one.
b. Micro lettering and milled edges
c. Larger in diameter but lighter than round pound
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
A new 12-sided British pound coin is entering circulation amid concern that the round pound was too easy to counterfeit.

The new coin introduced on 28th March 2017 is intended to be the most secure in the world, featuring a hologram that changes from the pound symbol to the numeral one.

It also has micro-lettering and milled edges.

It is slightly larger in diameter, but lighter than the round pound.

And despite its many sides, the Royal Mint says the new coin will roll and has been tested for the last three years to make sure it will work in vending machines.

The old coin and the new coin will co-exist for a period of around six months. It’s the first new pound coin to be introduced in 30 years.

It is considered the world's most secure coin.

Bimetallic with different inner and outer rings, a hidden identification system, a hologram, micro lettering with a diameter of 23.43 mm.

It is thinner and lighter than the old coin which ceases to be legal tender on Oct 15, 2017. With a thickness of 2.8mm and weight of 8.75g, the coin is unique in many ways.


8)   China is planning its first national underwater observatory in?
- Published on 06 Mar 17

a. SCS
b. Shanghai
c. Beijing
d. Nanjing
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SCS

Explanation:
China is planning to build its first national underwater observatory in the disputed South China Sea (SCS).

The observatory will allow China to keep a check on underwater physical, chemical, and geological dynamics in real time.

The construction work on the platform will be done with the help of Institute of Acoustics and Shanghai’s Tongji University.

South China Sea has been a disputed territory with China claiming almost all of the waters.

It carries third of the world’s maritime traffic and has huge amounts of oil and natural gas. Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also are claiming over the waters of SCS.


9)   Where will the Food Legumes Research Platform be set up?
- Published on 17 Feb 17

a. MP
b. UP
c. HP
d. AP
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: MP

Explanation:
Giving a fillip to agriculture research in the country, the government will set up a Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore in Madhya Pradesh.

Its satellite hubs in West Bengal and Rajasthan.

The hub in West Bengal will research in pulses while the one in Rajasthan will focus on natural resource management for sustainable agriculture.

The research institute will be set up with the help of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) which has an exceptional track record of innovation in climate resilient technologies.

This is including suitable food legume varieties for dry-land production systems.

The proposal in this regard was approved by the Union Cabinet in its meeting on 16th Feb 2017.

The Cabinet also gave its 'in principle' approval for conferring on the Food Legume Research Platform of ICARDA an "international status" as contemplated in Clause 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.

After setting up the Centre, the ICARDA will carry out research through a multi-disciplinary team of scientists for enhancing productivity of crops and livestock.

FLRP will be reducing poverty, improving food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustaining the natural resource base.

Benefits of FLRP

  • The establishment of FLRP in India will enable India to harness the best of international science in meeting the emerging food security challenges.
  • India would be able to rapidly and effectively absorb the research output achieved in the country by FLRP.
  • A major international R&D institution will make India an even bigger centre for agricultural research in the world.
  • This in turn, will attract further research & development investment in the country.
  • The research output would benefit farmers of all regions, whether big, small or marginal; and as technologies developed would be eligible for use by all farmers, the project is equitable and inclusive.


10)   IMF has opened SARTTAC. What does it stand for?
- Published on 16 Feb 17

a. South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre
b. South Asia Technical and Training Assistance Centre
c. South America Technical and Training Assistance Centre
d. South America Training and Technical Assistance Centre
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre

Explanation:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a first-of-its-kind South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) in New Delhi for economic capacity building in South Asia.

It will work to support local member countries of South Asia namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka to build human and institutional capacity and implement policies for growth and poverty reduction.

Financed mainly by its six member South Asia countries (mentioned above) with additional support from Australia, South Korea, European Union and United Kingdom, its strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity.

The aim is to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.

It will permit the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region.

It is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

In 2016, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a capacity development centre for South Asia.

The opening of SARTTAC is part of the MoU and marks a major milestone in the partnership between the IMF and its member countries in the region.


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