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Are Preferential Tariffs Utilized? Evidence from Australian Imports, 2000-9

  • Richard Pomfret


    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Uwe Kaufmann

    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Christopher Findlay


    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

Preferential tariff rates are often not utilized by qualified beneficiaries. Two reasons are complex rules of origin and erosion of preference margins as a result of multilateral trade liberalization. Our paper contributes to this research by providing evidence from high-quality disaggregated customs data of the utilization rate for Australia's preferential trading arrangements in the period 2000-9. A pattern of low ratios of imports receiving preferential tariff treatment to the total value of bilateral imports applies to all six of Australia's PTAs. Over half of Australian imports from New Zealand, the Pacific Island Forum economies, Thailand and Chile claimed preferential treatment in 2000, but all had lower utilization rates by 2009. This is primarily because of the increasing number of zero MFN tariff lines. Where MFN tariffs are positive, preferential tariffs are utilized and preferred trading partners pay lower customs duties. Positive utilization rates indicate that tariff preferences do have an impact, and at a minimum the exporters claiming the preferential tariff rate are better off than they would be in its absence, but by themselves utilization rates shed no light on the size of the impact on trade flows or on economic wellbeing.

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Paper provided by University of Adelaide, School of Economics in its series School of Economics Working Papers with number 2010-13.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2010-13
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  1. Miriam Manchin & Annette O. Pelkmans-Balaoing, 2007. "Clothes without an Emperor: Analysis of the Preferential Tariffs in ASEAN," Development Working Papers 223, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. John Romalis & Mary Amiti, 2006. "Will the Doha Round Lead to Preference Erosion?," IMF Working Papers 06/10, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Pomfret, Richard, 2001. "The Economics of Regional Trading Arrangements," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248872, July.
  4. Hertel, Thomas W. & Terrie Walmsley & Ken Itakura, 2001. "Dynamic Effects of the "New Age" Free Trade Agreement between Japan and Singapore," GTAP Working Papers 823, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  5. Mitsuyo Ando & Fukunari Kimura, 2005. "The Formation of International Production and Distribution Networks in East Asia," NBER Chapters, in: International Trade in East Asia, NBER-East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 14, pages 177-216 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Philippa Dee & Jyothi Gali, 2003. "The Trade and Investment Effects of Preferential Trading Arrangements," NBER Working Papers 10160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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