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Regional trade agreements

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  • Freund, Caroline
  • Ornelas, Emanuel

Abstract

This paper reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on regionalism. The formation of regional trade agreements has been, by far, the most popular form of reciprocal trade liberalization in the past 15 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 has 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 The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5314.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5314

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Related research

Keywords: Free Trade; Trade Law; Trade Policy; Trade and Regional Integration; Economic Theory&Research;

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References

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  1. Foley, C. Fritz & Antras, Pol, 2009. "Regional Trade Integration and Multinational Firm Strategies," Scholarly Articles 3374522, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1997. "An Economic Theory of GATT," NBER Working Papers 6049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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