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Regional Integration in the Americas: State of Play, Lessons, and Ways Forward


  • Estevadeordal, Antoni

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

  • Shearer, Matthew

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

  • Suominen, Kati

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)


The Americas have been a key driver of regional trade agreements (RTAs) since the 1990s. This study considers the effect of these agreements on trade liberalization, and the lessons that this offers for other parts of the world, notably Asia. It finds broad geographical coverage of RTAs in the Americas, and evidence that these agreements have broadened and deepened liberalization. It stresses the importance of looking beyond tariffs on goods, to consider liberalization of services and removal of non-tariff barriers, both for academics assessing the true extent of liberalization, and for policymakers looking to ensure well-functioning RTAs. It suggests that RTAs can encourage broader liberalization in Asia, but some sectors will be resistant to liberalization. Moreover, efforts must be made to harmonize the provisions of RTAs, to avoid costly multiplication of rules and to ensure a web of bilateral deals does not undermine multilateral trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Estevadeordal, Antoni & Shearer, Matthew & Suominen, Kati, 2011. "Regional Integration in the Americas: State of Play, Lessons, and Ways Forward," ADBI Working Papers 277, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbiwp:0277

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nuno Limão & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2006. "Trade Preferences to Small Developing Countries and the Welfare Costs of Lost Multilateral Liberalization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 217-240.
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    More about this item


    regional trade agreements; trade liberalization; liberalization of services; non-tariff barriers; multilateral trade agreements; bilateral trade agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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