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On the Value of Preferential Trade Agreements in Multilateral Negotiations

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  • Rodney D. Ludema

    (Georgetown University)

Abstract

This paper explores the effects of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) on multilateral negotiations using a three-country, noncooperative bargaining model. PTAs are treated as outside options of the multilateral negotiation, with the feature that they continue to negotiate after they form. The organization of a PTA, whether into a customs union (CU) or free-trade area (FTA), is crucial. CUs benefit from the strategic commitment afforded by common external trade barriers, but this benefit is reduced by asymmetry between the CU partners and by discounting. It is also affected by externalities that any additional PTAs impose on members of the first. FTAs reduce the multilateral bargaining outcome effectively to one of simultaneous bilateral bargaining, whereas CUs result in a large share going to the country that has the first option of forming one. By way of example it is shown that, when CUs and FTAs are considered together, the distribution lies in between the pure FTA and CU outcomes, and there is no general presumption that relatively large countries will prefer a regime that permits PTAs to one that does not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 9802003.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 02 Feb 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:9802003

Note: Type of Document - MS Word; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 40 ; figures: included. I would like to thank James Brander, James Cassing, John McMillan, Ray Riezman, Ian Wooton and an anonymous referee for valuable comments. Any errors are my own.
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  1. Riezman, Raymond, 1985. "Customs unions and the core," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 355-365, November.
  2. Rodney D. Ludema, 1991. "International Trade Bargaining And The Most-Favored-Nation Clause," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, 03.
  3. Binmore, Ken & Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1989. "An Outside Option Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 753-70, November.
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  12. Fernandez, R. & Glazer, J., 1988. "Why Haven'T Debtor Countries Formed A Cartel?," Papers 84, Boston University - Center for Latin American Development Studies.
  13. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1993. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation During the Formation of Free Trade Areas," Discussion Papers 1048, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Bond, E.W. & Syropoulos, C., 1993. "Trading Blocs and the Sustainability of Inte-regional Cooperation," Papers 5-93-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
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