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Does Tariff Liberalization Promote Trade? Latin American Countries in the Long-Run (1900-2000)

Listed author(s):
  • Nenci Silvia

    ()

    (University of Rome “La Sapienza”)

  • Pietrobelli Carlo

    ()

    (Center for Research on the Economics of Institutions (CREI), University Roma Tre)

This paper estimates the effect of trade liberalization on import performance of selected Latin American countries (which account for about 85 per cent of total Latin America imports). The novelty of this study is that it applies a long-term approach covering the whole XX century using times series and panel data analyses. The empirical exercise shows that the relationship between (lower) tariffs and import growth in Latin America cannot be taken for granted, as it often happens in the literature, and whenever it exists, it is not always quantitatively substantial. In particular, our analysis shows the existence of a long run relationship between tariffs and imports only from the second half of the XX century. It follows that trade liberalization appears effective in fostering Latin America's trade growth only when integrated within a wider process, implying a multilateral and negotiated approach to trade policy. In this sense, multilateral and regional agreements appear to have played a key role not only through tariff reduction but remarkably thanks to the creation of a rule-based system governing global trade relations, through which uncertainty was reduced and the spread of best practices promoted. This result would confirm the thesis of those who endorse the existence of a formalized trading system to guarantee tariff liberalization and foster trade growth.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Global Economy Journal.

Volume (Year): 8 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1-30

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:glecon:v:8:y:2008:i:4:n:2
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  1. Sebastian Edwards, 2008. "Globalization, Growth and Crises: The View from Latin America," NBER Working Papers 14034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew K. Rose, 2004. "Do We Really Know That the WTO Increases Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 98-114, March.
  3. Taylor, Alan M., 1998. "On the Costs of Inward-Looking Development: Price Distortions, Growth, and Divergence in Latin America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 1-28, March.
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  16. Sebastian Edwards, 2008. "Globalisation, Growth and Crises: The View from Latin America," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 41(2), pages 123-140, 06.
  17. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1997. "Regional Trading Blocs in the World Economic System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 72, 03.
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