Welcome to the third issue of the International Journal of Management and Economics (IJME) in 2019. We are proud to announce that the high academic profile of our Journal has been reconfirmed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland by granting us 40 evaluation points. We also continue to maintain a wide international exposure, thanks to our presence in indexing and full-text databases. Currently, the IJME is covered by nearly 40 different services, including Web of Science Emerging Sources, ProQuest, EBSCO, and EconLit. We operate the peer review and submission software ScholarOne Manuscripts by Clarivate Analytics. All our publications are automatically covered by citation monitoring.

The current issue contains six papers covering various areas in economics, management, and finance. The geographical scope of this issue is truly international and covers aspects of Trans-Pacific and Eurasian economies, Japan, North America, European Union (EU), and – in particular – Central and Eastern Europe.

Jürgen Wandel, in the first article entitled “Do Free Trade Agreements Promote Sneaky Protectionism? A Classical Liberal Perspective”, analyzes three recent regional trade agreements, namely the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the renegotiated North American trade agreement USCMA, and the Canada-EU agreement CETA and compares them against an ideal-type free trade agreement benchmark model based on a classical liberal perspective. The author challenges the view on recently signed regional trade agreements that promote genuine free trade and suggests that they rather foster sneaky protectionism under the guise of free trade. However, he concludes that given political economy constraints, regional trade agreements can still remain a second-best solution to the classical liberal ideals provided that they remove more obstacles to free exchange than they uphold.

In the second paper, “Great Stagnation” to the “Three-Arrows Strategy”, Jerzy Grabowiecki addresses the economic policy package of Japan, known as Abenomics. He aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the whole package from the perspective of 5 years since the time of its announcement. The author remarks that despite the acceleration in real GDP rate of Japan, Abenomics’ challenges remain serious, the main of them being the country’s indebtedness.

Marzanna Witek-Hajduk and Anna Grudecka, in the paper entitled “Country of Origin from a Management Perspective of Emerging Markets Companies”, aims to identify an approach of emerging market firms’ managers to the country of origin (COO) dimensions. The results of the in-depth interviews with 11 informants from emerging market companies (owners of household appliances brands) show that managers perceive the COO as a multidimensional construct. The article discusses various dimensions and provides a deeper understanding of the COO from a perspective of emerging market companies. Most importantly, aspects such as country of manufacturing, assembly, and parts are mainly treated as a strategic imperative from the sourcing strategy perspective and seem to be less important from the marketing perspective than the country of brand origin.

In the next paper, entitled “The Diversity of Education Systems in the European Union”, Andrzej Żurawski applies Amable’s Diversity of Capitalism approach to analyze the educational systems in the EU. The primary goal is to identify the clusters of educational systems with regard to their institutional characteristics. The secondary goal is to evaluate the impact of several EU policies and initiatives on the institutional structure of European educational systems. The author identifies six clusters in terms of general education and five clusters in terms of higher education systems. With some exceptions (notably the UK and Ireland), European education systems have a similar structure to other institutional areas; in particular, the study confirms the existence of post-communist (in terms of Farkas) or patchwork (in terms of Rapacki et al.) capitalism. The results also suggest that there are significant differences in performance between the clusters, something that potentially may be of great importance for the future educational policy.

The fifth article, “The Comparative Empirical Analysis of Financial Intermediation Systems in Central and Eastern Europe”, is authored by Bożena Horbaczewska. The study evaluates the level of similarity between financial systems in selected Central and Eastern European countries (CEE11) and the four models of capitalism identified by Amable. The author takes two snapshots of the institutional arrangements in 2005 and 2014. The analyses point out that in the area of financial intermediation, the group of CEE11 countries in 2005 was characterized by the greatest similarity to the Continental model of capitalism. The same investigations carried out for 2014 indicate a significant shift towards solutions more typical to the Mediterranean model.

The final article of this issue, “Are Eastern Baltic Ports the Drivers of Eurasian Trade?”, is authored by Elena Efimova and Svetlana Vroblevskaya. The author focuses on the evaluation of Eastern Baltic ports’ capacity to handle Chinese cargo and provides the detailed analysis of possible choices of cargo transportation routes and opportunities to attract Chinese investment to expand necessary harbor and logistics infrastructure. She concludes that, given existing circumstances and alternative possibilities, Eastern Baltic ports can attract a small part of Chinese trade inflows.

This issue is concluded with a report from The International Conference World Economy 2019: “Learning from the Past and Designing the Future” written by Katarzyna Sum. The conference was organized at the Warsaw School of Economics to commemorate a double Jubilee – 70th Anniversary of the Collegium of World Economy and 70th birthday of five distinguished members of the Faculty, namely Prof. Adam Budnikowski, Prof. Elżbieta Duliniec, Prof. Jolanta Mazur, Prof. Ryszard Rapacki, and Prof. Dariusz Rosati.

We hope you will find good scientific inspiration in the current issue of the International Journal of Management and Economics. Please enjoy reading!