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The Political Economy of Voluntary Export Restraint Agreements


  • Kent Jones


Voluntary export restraint agreements (VERs) have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional protectionist devices, whose use is severely limited by trade agreements. Aimed at ‘disruptive’ suppliers, VERs tend to shift the source of imports away from the most efficient producers. Yet such negotiated agreements are attractive to exporters because they are preferable to the alternative of unilateral import barriers, especially since they allow exporters to control the trade restriction and thereby raise the export price. In fact all effective participants gain from the VER agreement, while consumers and others hurt by it are excluded from the negotiating process. Among the inherent problems of VERs, however, is their tendency to divert exports towards third markets, spreading protectionism worldwide and destabilizing trade relations. Continuing protectionist pressure in such an environment encourages the development of more sophisticated and comprehensive methods of induced export restraint. Abkommen über die freiwillige Einschränkung von Exporten gewinnen immer mehr an Bedeutung als praktische Alternative zu traditionellen Importbeschränkungen, deren Einsatz durch Handelsabkommen stark begrenzt worden ist. Diese Art von Protektionismus richtet sich hauptsächlich gegen Billigländer und benachteiligt damit die leistungsfähigsten Produzenten; diese ziehen jedoch eine Vereinbarung einer vom importierenden Land einseitig auferlegten Beschränkung vor, zumal erstere dem exportierenden Land Aufsicht über die Handelsbeschränkung gibt und damit den Exportpreis erhöht. In der Tat schlägt das Abkommen zum Vorteil aller direkten Teilnehmer aus, während Konsumenten und andere, die sich im Nachteil befinden, von den Verhandlungen ausgeschlossen werden. Zu den inhärenten Problemen dieser Abkommen gehört dennoch ihre Tendenz zur Ablenkung von Exporten in Drittländer, was den Protektionismus verbreitet und die Handelsbeziehungen entstabilisiert. Fortwährender protektionistischer Druck führt unter diesen Umständen zu immer komplizierteren, umfassenderen Methoden der Exportbeschränkung. Les accords volontaires de limitation d'exportation s'avèrent ȩtre une alternative de choix aux moyens traditionnels de protectionnisme dont l'usage est sévèrement limité par des accords de commerce. Destinés ȩ contro̧ler les fournisseurs ≪gȩnants≫, ces accords tendent ȩ détourner la source des importations des productem les plus efficaces. Néanmoins de telles négotiations plaisent aux exportateurs parce qu'elles sont préférables ȩ I'installation de barrières d'importation unilatérales, particulierement puisqu'elles permettent aux exportateurs de contro̧ler les restrictions commerciales et par lȩ d'élever le prix d‘exportation. En fait, tous les participants effectifs trouvent un avantage aux accords alors que les consommateurs et ceux qui sont touchés par ces accords sont exclus du processus de négotiation. Parmi les problemes inhérents aux accords, on remarque, toutefois, leur tendance ȩ détourner les exportations vers des marchés tertiaires, contribuant de ce fait ȩétendre le protectionnisme ȩ I'éhelle mondiale et ȩ détabiliser les relations de commerce. Une poussée protectionniste. continue dans un tel domaine encourage le développement de méthodes plus sophistiqués et plus complètes qui occasionnent plus de restrictions des exportations.

Suggested Citation

  • Kent Jones, 1984. "The Political Economy of Voluntary Export Restraint Agreements," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 82-101, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:37:y:1984:i:1:p:82-101
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6435.1984.tb00741.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Caruso Raul, 2003. "The Impact of International Economic Sanctions on Trade: An Empirical Analysis," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-36, April.
    2. Ronald Findlay & Stanislaw Wellisz, 1986. "Tariffs, quotas and domestic-content protection: some political economy considerations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 221-242, January.
    3. Philippe Ithurbide, 1987. "Les restrictions volontaires d'exportations," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 38(1), pages 25-54.
    4. Kagitani, Koichi & Harimaya, Kozo, 2015. "Safeguards and voluntary export restraints under the World Trade Organization," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 29-41.

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