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Preferentialism in Trade Relations: Challenges for the World Trade Organization

Author

Listed:
  • Low, Patrick

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

Abstract

This paper argues that preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are not substitutes, and while PTAs are without doubt here to stay, dispensing with a multilateral venue for doing business in trade matters is not a serious option. It is therefore necessary to seek out better accommodation between PTAs and the WTO than has been apparent to date. The law of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/WTO has systematically fallen short in imposing discipline on discriminatory reciprocal trade agreements, while procedural requirements, such as notifications, have been partially observed at best, and dispute settlement findings have tended to reinforce existing weaknesses in the disciplines. One approach to remedying this situation is to explore a different kind of cooperation—that of soft law. A soft law approach to improving coherence and compatibility between the WTO and PTAs may hold some promise, but the option also has its pitfalls.

Suggested Citation

  • Low, Patrick, 2014. "Preferentialism in Trade Relations: Challenges for the World Trade Organization," ADBI Working Papers 478, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbiwp:0478
    as

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    File URL: http://www.adbi.org/files/2014.05.07.wp478.preferentialism.trade.relations.wto.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Srinivasan, T. N., 2005. "Nondiscrimination in GATT/WTO: was there anything to begin with and is there anything left?," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 69-95, March.
    2. Anne O. Krueger, 1993. "Free Trade Agreements as Protectionist Devices: Rules of Origin," NBER Working Papers 4352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Cadot, Olivier & Carrere, Celine & De Melo, Jaime & Tumurchudur, Bolormaa, 2006. "Product-specific rules of origin in EU and US preferential trading arrangements: an assessment," World Trade Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 199-224, July.
    4. Bhagwati, Jagdish, 2008. "Termites in the Trading System: How Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195331653.
    5. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2009. "Estimating the effects of free trade agreements on international trade flows using matching econometrics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 63-76, February.
    6. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    7. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C., 2001. "Economic and legal aspects of the Most-Favored-Nation clause," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 233-279, June.
    8. repec:idb:brikps:20098 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kemp, Murray C. & Wan, Henry Jr., 1976. "An elementary proposition concerning the formation of customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-97, February.
    10. Ornelas, Emanuel, 2008. "Feasible multilateralism and the effects of regionalism," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 202-224, January.
    11. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Greenaway, David & Panagariya, Arvind, 1998. "Trading Preferentially: Theory and Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(449), pages 1128-1148, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    World Trade Organization; Preferential Trade Agreements; coherence; soft law; trade dispute settlement;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General
    • K30 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - General

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