Will international rules on subsidies disrupt the world trading system?
We provide a first formal analysis of the international rules that govern the use of subsidies to domestic production. Our analysis highlights the impact of the new disciplines on subsidies that were added to GATT rules with the creation of the WTO. Our results suggest that, although GATT subsidy rules were typically viewed as weak and inadequate while the WTO subsidy rules are seen as representing a significant strengthening of multilateral disciplines on subsidies, the key changes introduced by the WTO subsidy rules may ultimately do more harm than good to the multilateral trading system, by undermining the ability of tariff negotiations to serve as the mechanism for expanding market access to more efficient levels.
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