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Is Regionalism an Increasing Feature of the World Economy?

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  • Richard Pomfret

Abstract

Measuring the importance of regionalism in international trade is desirable but difficult. The number of regional trade agreements (RTAs) reported to the WTO or the proportion of world trade which is between countries in an RTA are frequently cited as evidence that regionalism is growing at an accelerating rate. This paper questions whether RTAs really are as important as the headline numbers suggest, or whether they just occupy an excessively large part of policymakers' and economic journalists' time. The main contributions are to analyse the number of RTAs and the share of world trade criteria in order to show why both are meaningless in the current world economy. The paper concludes that, although the extent of regionalism is difficult to measure and the desirability of individual RTAs is difficult to assess, the threat to the multilateral trading system does not appear to be as large as is often reported, because the long-term dynamics of RTAs lead either to state formation, which is important but rare, or to ineffectiveness, which is the fate of the vast majority of RTAs. Copyright 2007 The Author Journal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal World Economy.

Volume (Year): 30 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (06)
Pages: 923-947

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:30:y:2007:i:6:p:923-947

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References

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  1. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8131 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Richard Pomfret, 2005. "Regional Trade Agreements," School of Economics Working Papers, University of Adelaide, School of Economics 2005-15, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  3. Linda Low, 2004. "A Comparative Evaluation and Prognosis of Asia Pacific Bilateral and Regional Trade Arrangements," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 18(1), pages 1-11, 05.
  4. Pomfret, Richard, 2005. "Sequencing trade and monetary integration: issues and application to Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 105-124, February.
  5. Schiff, Maurice & Winters, L Alan, 1998. "Dynamics and Politics in Regional Integration Arrangements: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 177-95, May.
  6. Guillaume Gaulier & Françoise Lemoine & Deniz Ünal, 2006. "China’s Emergence and the Reorganisation of Trade Flows in Asia," Working Papers 2006-05, CEPII research center.
  7. Richard Pomfret, 1986. "The Trade-Diverting Bias of Preferential Trading Arrangements," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 109-117, December.
  8. Baysan, Tercan & Panagariya, Arvind & Pitigala, Nihal, 2006. "Preferential trading in South Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3813, The World Bank.
  9. Dennis, Allen, 2006. "The impact of regional trade agreements and trade facilitation in the Middle East and North Africa region," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3837, The World Bank.
  10. Patrick Messerlin, 2005. "The Directive on Services: Rent Seekers Strike Back," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8131, Sciences Po.
  11. Tubagus Feridhanusetyawan, 2005. "Preferential Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific Region," IMF Working Papers 05/149, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Pomfret, Richard, 1985. "Discrimination in International Trade: Extent, Motivation and Implications - La discriminazione nell’ambito del commercio internazionale: estensione, motivi e implicazioni," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio di Genova, vol. 38(1), pages 49-65.
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Cited by:
  1. Grant, Jason H., 2012. "Is the Growth of Regionalism as Significant as the Headlines Suggest? Lessons from Agricultural Trade," Working Papers, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network 142374, Canadian Agricultural Trade Policy Research Network.
  2. Koopmann, Georg & Vogel, Lars, 2011. "Globalisierung, Regionalisierung und die Handelspolitik der Europäischen Union," HWWI Policy Papers 58, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  3. Bernhard Herz & Marco Wagner, 2010. "Multilateralism versus Regionalism!?," Working Papers, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE) 089, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  4. Richard Pomfret, 2009. "Regionalism in the Asia-Pacific Region: How Wide, How Deep?," School of Economics Working Papers, University of Adelaide, School of Economics 2009-31, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  5. Rachel McCulloch, 2010. "The International Trading System and Its Future," Working Papers, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School 08, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  6. Patrick Georges, 2009. "Dispensing with NAFTA Rules of Origin? Some Policy Options for Canada," Working Papers, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics 0904E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  7. Pomfret, Richard & Sourdin, Patricia, 2009. "Have Asian trade agreements reduced trade costs?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 255-268, May.

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