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North-South Standards Harmonization and International Trade

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  • Cadot, Olivier
  • Disdier, Anne-Célia
  • Fontagné, Lionel

Abstract

Recent years have seen a surge in regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the development of non-tariff measures (NTMs). As a consequence, a growing number of RTAs include provisions on NTMs. This paper investigates the effect of standards-harmonization clauses contained in many North-South Agreements on international trade. Using a gravity equation, we find that (i) North-South harmonization of technical regulations reinforces a hub-and-spoke trade structure potentially detrimental to the development of South-South trade and (ii) harmonization on regional standards hurts Southern exports to the North. Thus, standards-harmonization provisions included in many recent North-South RTAs miss their target and contribute to marginalize Southern countries in the world economy.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8767.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8767

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Keywords: harmonization; Regional trade agreement; South-South trade; technical regulations;

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