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Does Mercosur's trade performance raise concerns about the effects of regional trade arrangements?


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  • Yeats, Alexander
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    A concern about regional trade arrangements (RTAs) is whether the discriminatory trade barriers applied to RTAs encourage high-cost imports from member countries at the expense of nonmember lower-cost goods. RTA impact evaluations have been hampered by a lack of appropriate empirical procedures for assessing their influence on trade level and direction. The author employs a new index for analyzing the static trade effects of an RTA. He examines export regional orientation changes combined with the revealed comparative advantage (RCA) index to identify trade pattern inefficiencies. This is applied to Mercosur countries'export statistics to determine if recent trade is evolving compatible with the countries'current comparative advantage. The results show the dynamic products in Mercosur's intra-trade are capital intensive goods which members have not displayed a strong export performance in outside markets. Neither the RCA indices nor factor proportion statistics indicate that Mercosur has a comparative advantage in those products. The evidence suggests Mercosur's trade barriers are responsible for the trade changes. Most favored nation tariffs on the fast growing products are above the average for all imports and provide Mercosur members with significant preferences. These findings constitute evidence on the potential adverse effects of regional trade arrangements on members and on third countries. Given the recent proliferation of RTAs, they highlight the need for further empirical research on the domestic and international effects of these arrangements, to better assess the pros and cons of regionalism.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1729.

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    Date of creation: 28 Feb 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1729

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    Keywords: Trade Policy; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Transport and Trade Logistics; Common Carriers Industry; TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Trade Policy; Trade and Regional Integration;

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    1. Deardorff, Alan V, 1982. "The General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 683-94, September.
    2. repec:fth:eeccco:94 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Drysdale, Peter & Garnaut, Ross, 1982. "Trade Intensities and the Analysis of Bilateral Trade Flows in a Many-Country World : A Survey," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 22(2), pages 62-84, February.
    4. André Sapir, 1992. "Regional integration in Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8200, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    Cited by:
    1. Shahid Yusuf, 2003. "Innovative East Asia : The Future of Growth," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15158, August.
    2. Jérôme Trotignon, 2001. "Brésil-Argentine : effets statiques et dynamiques de l'intégration commerciale," Post-Print, HAL halshs-00179978, HAL.
    3. Nunnenkamp, Peter, 1998. "Lateinamerika nach der verlorenen Dekade : eine Zwischenbilanz der Reformen," Kiel Discussion Papers, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) 324, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Nunnenkamp, Peter, 1997. "Mercosur und EU: institutionalisierte Kooperation als Stimulanz für Handel und Direktinvestitionen?," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) 1737, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Sophie Chauvin, 2001. "Exit Options for Argentina with a Special Focus on Their Impact on External Trade," Working Papers, CEPII research center 2001-07, CEPII research center.
    6. Roberto Longo & Khalid Sekkat, 2004. "Economic obstacles to expanding intra-African trade," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7358, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. David M. Gould, 1998. "Has NAFTA changed North American trade?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q 1, pages 12-23.
    8. Eduardo Levy & Federico Sturzenegger, 2000. "Is EMU a Blueprint for Mercosur?," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 37(110), pages 63-99.
    9. DeRosa, Dean A., 1998. "Regional integration arrangements : static economic theory, quantitative findings, and policy guidelines," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 2007, The World Bank.
    10. Pacheco, Ricardo & Nunnenkamp, Peter, 1997. "Wirtschaftliche Integration auf Kosten peripherer Regionen? Chancen und Risiken für den brasilianischen Nordosten im Mercosur," Kiel Working Papers 827, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    11. John Romalis, 2005. "NAFTA's and CUSFTA's Impact on International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Salazar-Xirinachs, Jose M., 2002. "Proliferation of sub-Regional Trade Agreements in the Americas: an assessment of key analytical and policy issues," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 181-212.
    13. Simwaka, Kisu, 2010. "An Empirical Evaluation of Trade Potential in Southern African Development Community," MPRA Paper 15894, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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