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Bilateralism, multilateralism, and the quest for global free trade

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  • Saggi, Kamal
  • Yildiz, Halis Murat

Abstract

We develop an equilibrium theory of trade agreements in which both the degree and the nature (bilateral or multilateral) of trade liberalization are endogenously determined. To determine whether and how bilateralism matters, we also analyze a scenario where countries pursue trade liberalization on only a multilateral basis. We find that when countries have asymmetric endowments or when governments value producer interests more than tari¤ revenue and consumer surplus, there exist circumstances where global free trade is a stable equilibrium only if countries are free to pursue bilateral trade agreements. By contrast, under symmetry, both bilateralism and multilateralism yield global free trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Saggi, Kamal & Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2009. "Bilateralism, multilateralism, and the quest for global free trade," MPRA Paper 17558, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17558
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kamal Saggi & Halis Murat Yildiz, 2018. "Bilateral Trade Agreements and the Feasibility of Multilateral Free Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Kamal Saggi (ed.), Economic Analysis of the Rules and Regulations of the World Trade Organization, chapter 8, pages 168-185, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bilateral trade agreements; multilateral trade liberalization; free trade agreements; GATT;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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