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On the Relationship between Preferential and Multilateral Trade Liberalization: The Case of Customs Unions

In: Economic Analysis of the Rules and Regulations of the World Trade Organization

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  • Kamal Saggi
  • Alan Woodland
  • Halis Murat Yildiz

Abstract

This paper compares equilibrium outcomes of two games of trade liberalization. In the Bilateralism game, countries choose whether to liberalize trade preferentially via a customs union (CU), multilaterally, or not at all. The Multilateralism game is a restricted version of the Bilateralism game in that countries cannot form CUs and can only undertake non-discriminatory trade liberalization. When countries have symmetric endowments, global free trade is the only stable equilibrium of both games. Allowing for endowment asymmetry, we isolate circumstances where the option to form CUs helps further the cause of multilateral liberalization as well as where it does not.

Suggested Citation

  • Kamal Saggi & Alan Woodland & Halis Murat Yildiz, 2018. "On the Relationship between Preferential and Multilateral Trade Liberalization: The Case of Customs Unions," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Kamal Saggi (ed.), Economic Analysis of the Rules and Regulations of the World Trade Organization, chapter 9, pages 186-222, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  • Handle: RePEc:wsi:wschap:9789813233058_0009
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multilateral Trading System; Trade Agreements; Trade Liberalization; International Tariff Cooperation; WTO Disputes; Case Studies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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