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Camouflaged Trade Agreements

  • Appelbaum, Elie
  • Melatos, Mark

We raise the possibility that at least some of the free trade areas observed in practice are customs unions in disguise. We distinguish between generalized and standard customs unions. While members of the former can choose different external tariff rates, members of the latter levy a common external tariff. The chief insight is that, in practice, it is typically not possible to differentiate between a generalized customs union and a free trade area. We demonstrate that generalized customs unions will be established and offer an explanation for the design of Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

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Paper provided by University of Sydney, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-11.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:syd:wpaper:2123/8381
Contact details of provider: Postal: Sydney, NSW 2006
Phone: 61 +2 9351 5055
Fax: 61 +2 9351 4341
Web page: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/economics
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  1. Horn, Henrik & Maggi, Giovanni & Staiger, Robert, 2007. "Trade Agreements as Endogenously Incomplete Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 6037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization toward NonMembers?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1531-1575, November.
  3. Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2010. "Regional Trade Agreements," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 139-166, 09.
  4. Facchini, Giovanni & Silva, Peri & Willmann, Gerald, 2012. "The Customs Union issue: Why do we observe so few of them?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9135, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Riezman, Raymond, 1985. "Customs unions and the core," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 355-365, November.
  6. Jayjit Roy, 2010. "Do Customs Union Members Engage in More Bilateral Trade than Free-Trade Agreement Members?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 663-681, 09.
  7. Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2010. "Regional trade agreements: blessing or burden?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 313, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Martin Richardson, 1994. "Why A Free Trade Area? The Tariff Also Rises," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 79-96, 03.
  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. Magee, Christopher S.P., 2008. "New measures of trade creation and trade diversion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 349-362, July.
  11. Emanuel Ornelas, 2007. "Exchanging market access at the outsiders' expense: the case of customs unions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 207-224, February.
  12. Caroline Freund, 2010. "Third‐country Effects of Regional Trade Agreements," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(11), pages 1589-1605, November.
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