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Backward stealing and forward manipulation in the WTO

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  • Kyle Bagwell

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Columbia University)

  • Robert W. Staiger

    ()
    (University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics)

Abstract

Motivated by the structure of WTO negotiations, we analyze a bargaining environment in which negotiations proceed bilaterally and sequentially under the most-favored-nation (MFN) principle. We identify backward-stealing and forward-manipulation problems that arise when governments bargain under the MFN principle in a sequential fashion. We show that these problems impede governments from achieving the multilateral efficiency frontier unless further rules of negotiation are imposed. We identify the WTO nullification-or-impairment and renegotiation provisions and its reciprocity norm as rules that are capable of providing solutions to these problems. In this way, we suggest that WTO rules can facilitate the negotiation of efficient multilateral trade agreements in a world in which the addition of new and economically significant countries to the world trading system is an ongoing process.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0405-06.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0405-06

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  1. Leslie M. Marx & Greg Shaffer, 1999. "Predatory Accommodation: Below-Cost Pricing without Exclusion in Intermediate Goods Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 22-43, Spring.
  2. Karacaovali, Baybars & Limão, Nuno, 2005. "The Clash of Liberalizations: Preferential vs. Multilateral Trade Liberalization in the European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 4973, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  5. Robert W. Staiger & Kyle Bagwell, 1999. "An Economic Theory of GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 215-248, March.
  6. Shang-Jin Wei & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," IMF Working Papers 03/185, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Leslie M. Marx & Greg Shaffer, 2004. "Opportunism in Multilateral Vertical Contracting: Nondiscrimination, Exclusivity, and Uniformity: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 796-801, June.
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  9. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2004. "The Economics of the World Trading System," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524341, December.
  10. Ludema, Rodney D. & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2009. "Do countries free ride on MFN?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 137-150, April.
  11. Bagwell,K. & Staiger,R.W., 1999. "Multilateral trade negotiations, bilateral opportunism and the rules of GATT," Working papers 6, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. McCalman, Phillip, 2002. "Multi-lateral trade negotiations and the Most Favored Nation clause," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 151-176, June.
  13. Lim“o, Nuno, 2002. "Are Preferential trade Agreements with Non-trade Objectives a Stumbling Block for Multilateral Liberalization?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 129, Royal Economic Society.
  14. Michael Tomz & Judith L. Goldstein & Douglas Rivers, 2007. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 2005-2018, December.
  15. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2005. "Erratum to Multilateral trade negotiations, bilateral opportunism and the rules of GATT/WTO," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 268-294, December.
  16. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "Regionalism and Multilateral Tariff Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 5921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  27. Chad P. Bown, 2004. "On the Economic Success of GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 811-823, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ludema, Rodney D & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2005. "Do Countries Free Ride on MFN?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5160, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Negotiating free trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30, September.
  3. Nuno Limao, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements as Stumbling Blocks for Multilateral Trade Liberalization: Evidence for the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 896-914, June.
  4. Elsayyad, May & Konrad, Kai A., 2012. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," Munich Reprints in Economics 13964, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. James Lake & Halis M. Yildiz, 2014. "On the different geographic characteristics of Free Trade Agreements and Customs Unions," Departmental Working Papers 1403, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  6. Chad Bown & Meredith Crowley, 2004. "China's export growth and U.S. trade policy," Working Paper Series WP-04-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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