Accession to the World Trade Organization and Tariff Evasion
This study documents some unintended consequences of the WTO membership by providing evidence on displacement of tariff evasion driven by the WTO accession process. We argue that implementation of Article VII of the GATT resulted in limiting discretion of customs officials in terms of assessing unit values of goods. While prior to the WTO accession, officials were free to use minimum or reference prices, after their country joined the WTO they were mandated to accept the invoice issued by the exporter. This limited the scope for negotiation between importers and customs officials and their ability to misrepresent import prices. This institutional reform has effectively shut down one channel of import duty evasion. Dishonest importers have responded by relying more heavily on alternative evasion channels, such as undercounting quantities and product misclassification. We formally test these hypotheses using data on 15 countries which joined the WTO between 1996 and 2008. We calculate the discrepancy in the unit values of imports as reported by the exporter and the importer and find that there is a positive relationship between the tariff rate and misrepresentation of import prices prior to the accession. This relationship disappears after the country joins the WTO. However, at the same time we find that removing the opportunity to underreport unit values has induced importers to underreport quantities. We find that in the post-accession period there is a positive and statistically significant relationship between underreporting of import quantities and the tariff rate. Further, we find that the relationship between the tariff on similar products and underreporting quantities becomes stronger after the accession, which is suggestive of product misclassification becoming more widespread.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9592. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.