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The economics of taxes with equivalent effects to tariffs


  • Romain Perez


Developing countries are faced with the issue of tariff replacement at an early stage of their development, due to their increased commitments through Free Trade Arrangements with developed countries. As tariff replacement through VAT, or more sophisticated tools such as income tax, is neither practically nor economically desirable in these economies, this paper investigates the effects of an alternative replacement tax that only affects categories of goods not produced locally. This tax, denominated tax with equivalent effects to tariffs (TEET), is indeed a consumption tax as it concerns all goods, whether imported or potentially produced in the country. Based on a simple diagrammatic approach, the study shows that this tool tends to generate more welfare than tariffs if final prices of goods are left unchanged. It shows that a government can continue to maintain its revenues and increase the welfare of consumers through this fiscal replacement. Additionally, the political and economic reserves associated with this tool are discussed. The TEET are therefore useful mainly for small and non-diversified economies. It also remains that the use of this tool is, in practice, conditioned by the level of tolerance of developed countries, which tend to prohibit it in bilateral agreements with developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Romain Perez, 2008. "The economics of taxes with equivalent effects to tariffs," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 439-451.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:17:y:2008:i:3:p:439-451
    DOI: 10.1080/09638190802137091

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reint Gropp & Liam P. Ebrill & Janet Gale Stotsky, 1999. "Revenue Implications of Trade Liberalization," IMF Occasional Papers 180, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Antoine Bouët & Yvan Decreux & Lionel Fontagné & Sébastien Jean & David Laborde, 2004. "A Consistent, Ad-Valorem Equivalent Measure of Applied Protection Across the World: The MAcMap-HS6 Database," Working Papers 2004-22, CEPII research center.
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    tariff reform; VAT; welfare; government revenue;


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