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Regional Trade Agreements


  • Richard Pomfret

    () (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)


This paper reviews the evolution of thinking about regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the policy developments reflected in three waves of RTAs during the last half century. It rejects claims, based on number of RTAs notified to the WTO, that RTAs are today more prolific than ever. Desirable and undesirable features of RTAs can be identified, but the central message of the theory of second-best about the ambiguity of outcomes remains valid. Describing many RTAs as free trade agreements distorts the meaning of “free trade” and deeper integration in some regions undermines use of the nation state as the central unit of analysis; both make it difficult to determine whether active RTAs are stepping stones or stumbling blocks to improved resource allocation.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Pomfret, 2005. "Regional Trade Agreements," School of Economics Working Papers 2005-15, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2005-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Pomfret, Richard, 2005. "Trade policies in Central Asia after EU enlargement and before Russian WTO accession: Regionalism and integration into the world economy," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 32-58, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Jean, Sebastien & Matthews, Alan, 2005. "Concessions and Exemptions for Developing Countries in the Agricultural Negotiations: The Role of the Special and Differential Treatment," Working Papers 18858, TRADEAG - Agricultural Trade Agreements.
    2. Balogun, Emmanuel Dele, 2009. "Determinants of West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ)countries global export trade: do foreign reserves and independent exchange rates matter?," MPRA Paper 12929, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Michele Fratianni & Chang Hoon Oh, 2009. "Expanding RTAs, trade flows, and the multinational enterprise," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 40(7), pages 1206-1227, September.
    4. Richard Pomfret, 2007. "Is Regionalism an Increasing Feature of the World Economy?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(6), pages 923-947, June.
    5. Michele Fratianni & Chang Hoon Oh, 2007. "On the Relationship Between RTA Expansion and Openness," Working Papers 2007-13, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    6. Achterbosch, Thom J. & de Bruin, S. & van Tongeren, Frank W., 2003. "Trade Preferences For Developing Countries," Report Series 29102, Agricultural Economics Research Institute.
    7. Douglas A. Irwin, 2006. "The Impact of Federation on Australia's Trade Flows," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 315-324, September.
    8. Bernhard Herz & Marco Wagner, 2010. "Multilateralism versus Regionalism!?," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_043, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    9. Balogun, Emmanuel Dele, 2007. "Effects of exchange rate policy on bilateral export trade of WAMZ countries," MPRA Paper 6234, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration


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