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Always look at the bright side of non-delivery: WTO and Preferential Trade Agreements, yesterday and today

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  • MAVROIDIS, PETROS C.

Abstract

The disciplining of Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) by the WTO has been ‘relaxed’ recently as a result of the new context (the Transparency Mechanism ) within which notified PTAs are being multilaterally reviewed. This is probably a blessing for a number of reasons, including the success of the multilateral trading system in bringing tariffs down over the years (and the ensuing reduced trade diversion), the fact that modern PTAs deal with many non-trade issues as well (for which no WTO disciplines exist), and the recent empirical literature suggesting overall positive welfare implications for those participating in similar schemes. This paper discusses these and other reasons to support the view that the WTO should rather focus on the multilateral agenda instead of diverting its attention towards disciplining PTAs. In more concrete terms, this paper argues in support of the thesis that the Transparency Mechanism should not be simply a de facto substitute of the previous regime (where outlawing a PTA could not a priori be excluded), but the de jure new forum to discuss PTAs within the multilateral trading system, at least for the time being. A first do-no-harm-policy is one of the rationales for the thesis advocated here.

Suggested Citation

  • Mavroidis, Petros C., 2011. "Always look at the bright side of non-delivery: WTO and Preferential Trade Agreements, yesterday and today," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 375-387, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:wotrrv:v:10:y:2011:i:03:p:375-387_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    11. Thomas J. Prusa & Robert Teh, 2010. "Protection Reduction and Diversion: PTAs and the Incidence of Antidumping Disputes," NBER Working Papers 16276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro, 2015. "Estimates of the Trade and Welfare Effects of NAFTA," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-44.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoekman, Bernard M. & Mavroidis, Petros C., 2015. "Embracing Diversity: Plurilateral Agreements and the Trading System," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 101-116, January.
    2. Bernard Hoekman, 2014. "Supply Chains, Mega-Regionals and Multilateralism: A Road Map for the WTO," RSCAS Working Papers 2014/27, European University Institute.
    3. Bernard Hoekman, 2014. "Sustaining multilateral trade cooperation in a multipolar world economy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 241-260, June.
    4. Wolfe, Robert, 2013. "Letting the sun shine in at the WTO: How transparency brings the trading system to life," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2013-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.

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