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Preferential Trade Agreements and Rules of the Multilateral Trading System

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  • Saggi, Kamal
  • Wong, Woan Foong
  • Yildiz, Halis Murat

Abstract

Preferential trade agreement (PTA) members have to eliminate internal tariffs with each other but are allowed to discriminate against non-members. This can be in potential conflict with the WTO's overall non-discrimination clause. Using a competing exporters model of endogenous trade agreement formation, we study the central rules that govern PTAs. We find that the free trade agreements' (FTAs) requirement to eliminate internal tariffs increases total welfare when circumstances are such that global free trade is infeasible. However, it also reduces the likelihood of reaching global free trade. We also find that the MFN constraint does not just contribute to the achievement of global free trade but also delivers a welfare-superior outcome when global free trade is not possible. Finally, we show that the MFN constraint complements the PTA rules in achieving global free trade for only FTAs but not customs unions (CUs). However, when global free trade is infeasible, the MFN constraint is welfare improving for both types of PTAs. We conclude that while the likelihood of global free trade within the WTO requirements depends on the nature of PTAs, these requirements are necessarily welfare improving in a tariff-ridden world.

Suggested Citation

  • Saggi, Kamal & Wong, Woan Foong & Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2017. "Preferential Trade Agreements and Rules of the Multilateral Trading System," MPRA Paper 76330, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:76330
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    1. Elie Appelbaum & Mark Melatos, 2018. "Are Customs Unions Really So Scarce?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 94(307), pages 391-404, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    WTO; Coalition proof Nash equilibrium; Free Trade Agreement; Customs Union;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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