One trading world, or many: the issue of regional trading blocs
AbstractOver the past several decades, more and more countries have entered into preferential trading arrangements, provoking concern that the benefits of free trade are being sacrificed to growing discrimination. Just how widespread is this discrimination in international trade, and is it "legitimate" under the codes of international behavior to which countries generally subscribe? What does economic theory tell us about the likely consequences of such discrimination, and why do so many nations engage in it? ; The author finds that most of the preferential trading arrangements, accounting for about two-thirds of world trade, have increasingly resembled "trading blocs," in that their trade has become oriented more inward, among the members, and less outward, with the rest of the world. Over the long run, he points out, nondiscriminatory reductions in trade barriers are clearly preferable to discriminatory reductions. But should global negotiations fail, blocs that truly liberalized trade among themselves could improve the general welfare. To set the best example for the rest of the trading world, they should be receptive to new members, for the ideal free trade area is worldwide in scope.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal New England Economic Review.
Volume (Year): (1992)
Issue (Month): May ()
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Carsten Kowalczyk, 1990. "Welfare and Customs Unions," NBER Working Papers 3476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- X.P. Guma, 1990. "The Revised Southern African Customs Union Agreement: An Appraisal," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 58(1), pages 36-44, 03.
- Frankel, Jeffrey & Stein, Ernesto & Wei, Shang-jin, 1995. "Trading blocs and the Americas: The natural, the unnatural, and the super-natural," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-95, June.
- Jones, Michael, 1995. "Bilateralism on balance," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 37-56.
- Wei, Shang-Jin & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 1996. "Can regional blocs be a stepping stone to global free trade? a political economy analysis," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 339-347.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.