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Preferential Trade Agreements as Stumbling Blocks for Multilateral Trade Liberalization: Evidence for the United States

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  • Nuno Limao

Abstract

Most countries are members of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). The effect of these agreements has attracted much interest and raised the question of whether PTAs promote or slow multilateral trade liberalization, i.e., whether they are a "building block" or "stumbling block" to multilateral liberalization. Despite this long-standing concern with PTAs and the lack of theoretical consensus, there is no systematic evidence on whether they are actually a stumbling block to multilateral liberalization. We use detailed data on U.S. multilateral tariffs to provide the first systematic evidence that the direct effect of PTAs was to generate a stumbling block to its MTL. We also provide evidence of reciprocity in multilateral tariff reductions. (JEL: D78; F13; F14; F15)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:3:p:896-914
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.3.896
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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