Openness and Foreign Direct Investment: The Role of Free Trade Agreements in Latin America
This paper sheds lights the on the performance of Latin American governments in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) through trade policies, specifically by signing free trade agreements with other countries. The relationship between FDI and trade for Latin America has previously been analyzed. In these studies, the relationship between the degree of “openness” (imports plus exports divided by the domestic product) and FDI has not been conclusive. At the same time, the effect of specific trade policies on FDI flows has not been extensively studied. Some state policies on trade could produce a significant impact in attracting FDI. Specifically, through the implementation of several free trade agreements, several Latin American countries have been able to attract greater flows of foreign direct investment. The implementation of these free trade agreements was part of a more general plan of economic reforms that Latin American countries launched since the mid-1980s. The goals of these reforms were to adjust their economies and improve their competitiveness by liberalizing trade, privatizing, and deregulating their markets. Those countries that signed more free trade agreements – or signed them with the largest economies in the world –increased their effectiveness in attracting FDI. I test the impact of this policy on the behavior of FDI flows through a panel data model for seventeen Latin American countries and for the period ranging from 1985 to 2003.
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|Date of revision:||01 Jul 2007|
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