The Political Economy of Trans-Pacific Business Linkages
The current level and future evolution of trans-Pacific business linkages are tightly linked to domestic politics in Latin American countries. Where the structure of a nation's political institutions offer credible checks and balances against discretionary policymaking, external linkages including those with Pacific partners are stronger. Future liberalization including the formation of an FTAA is more likely when new policymakers arrive in office or when existing policymakers feel strong internal or external pressure to shift the course of their trade policy. A given liberalization is more likely to be sustained when coupled with short-term observable improvement in social and economic indicators. Countries with political institutions that fail to limit policymakers' discretion are particularly sensitive to a failure to demonstrate clear and immediate results. An analysis of the potential of an FTAA to influence trans-Pacific business linkages based on these arguments suggests that adoption is far from certain and that northern and southern countries alike will have to design an agreement with particular attention to social and economic consequences in Latin American countries.
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