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Regional Trade Agreements

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  • Caroline Freund
  • Emanuel Ornelas

Abstract

This paper reviews the theoretical and the empirical literature on regionalism. The formation of regional trade agreements has been, by far, the most popular form of reciprocal trade liberalization in the last fifteen years. The discriminatory character of these agreements has raised three main concerns: that trade diversion would be rampant, because special interest groups would induce governments to form the most distortionary agreements; that broader external trade liberalization would stall or reverse; and that multilateralism could be undermined. Theoretically, all of these concerns are legitimate, although there are also several theoretical arguments that oppose them. Empirically, neither widespread trade diversion nor stalled external liberalization have materialized, while the undermining of multilateralism has not been properly tested. There are also several aspects of regionalism that have received too little attention from researchers, but which are central to understanding its causes and consequences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0961.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0961

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

Related research

Keywords: regionalism; trade creation; trade diversion; external tariffs; trade liberalization;

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  1. Pol Antràs & C. Fritz Foley, 2009. "Regional Trade Integration and Multinational Firm Strategies," NBER Working Papers 14891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kemp, Murray C. & Wan, Henry Jr., 1976. "An elementary proposition concerning the formation of customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-97, February.
  3. Baybars Karacaovali & Nuno Limao, 2005. "The Clash Of Liberalizations: Preferential Vs. Multilateral Trade Liberalization In The European Union," International Trade and Finance Association Conference Papers 1037, International Trade and Finance Association.
  4. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1998. "An economic theory of GATT," Working papers 15, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. Mark Melatos & Alan Woodland, 2009. "Common External Tariff Choice in Core Customs Unions," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(SI), pages 292-303, 05.
  6. Pabo Sanguinetti & Alok Bohara & Kishore Guatanabe, 2003. "Trade Diverion and Declinning Tariffs: Evidence from MERCOSUR," Department of Economics Working Papers 003, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  7. Abrego, Lisandro & Riezman, Raymond & Whalley, John, 2006. "How often are propositions on the effects of regional trade agreements theoretical curiosa?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 59-78, January.
  8. Bond, Eric W. & Riezman, Raymond G. & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 2004. "A strategic and welfare theoretic analysis of free trade areas," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
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