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Domestic Regulation And International Trade: Where's The Race? - Lessons From Telecommunications And Export Controls

  • Cass Ronald A.

    (Boston University)

  • Haring John R.

    (Office of Plans & Policy, Federal Communications Commission)

Registered author(s):

    The debate over international trade has long pitted “free trade” advocates against those who argue that particular reasons support trade restraints. The newest argument is that open trade leads to a “race to the bottom” in the regulation of health, safety, welfare, and especially labor and environmental concerns, harming the nation’s citizens and undermining national sovereignty. One predicate for this argument – that trade increases competitive pressure on domestic industry – is accurate. That, in turn, will raise the cost of some national policies that otherwise would win (or sustain) political approval. But the remainder of the race to the bottom argument rests on assumptions about regulation, the political process, and trade that do not stand up to examination. While responses to increased international competition will vary, the effects of such competition will generally be consistent with any meaningful notion of sovereignty and also will improve national welfare judged by common economic norms.Le débat sur le commerce international a longtemps opposé les défenseurs du libre échange à ceux qui soutiennent qu’il existe des raisons particulières en faveur de barrières à l’échange. L’argument le plus récent est que le libre échange conduit à une course au “nivellement par le bas” au niveau de la réglementation de la santé, de la sécurité, du bienêtre, et plus particulièrement dans les domaines du travail et de l’environnement. Selon ses tenants, elle aurait pour conséquence de léser les citoyens de la nation et d’affaiblir la souveraineté nationale.Un présupposé de cet argument – selon lequel le commerce accroît la pression concurrentielle subie par l’industrie nationale – est fondé. A son tour cela entraînera une augmentation du coût de certaines politiques nationales qui auraient par ailleurs obtenu un assentiment politique.Mais le reste de l’argumentation du nivellement par le bas repose sur des hypothèses à propos de la réglementation, du processus politique, et du commerce qui ne résistent pas à un examen critique.Bien que les réactions à une concurrence internationale accrue varient, les effets d’une telle concurrence seront généralement cohérents avec toute notion pertinente de souveraineté et amélioreront le bien-être national tel que jugé par les normes économiques standard.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 1-47

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:11:y:2001:i:4:n:1
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