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The political economy of services trade liberalization: a case for international regulatory cooperation?

Author

Listed:
  • André Sapir
  • Bernard Hoekman
  • Aaditya Mattoo

Abstract

Little progress has been made since the creation of the WTO on expanding and deepening the coverage of services liberalization commitments. This paper identifies and discusses five hypotheses that may explain the absence of dynamism: (i) technological changes allowing ever more services to be traded cross-border unaffected by policy; (ii) strong incentives to pursue liberalization on an autonomous basis (unilaterally); (iii) perceptions that bilateral or regional cooperation are a good substitute for the WTO; (iv) standard political-economy factors, such as adjustment costs and resistance by incumbents to erosion of rents; and (v) concerns that the WTO will affect the ability of regulators to enforce national norms. We argue that all of these explanations play a role, and that some of these factors significantly impede the scope for reciprocal exchanges of 'concessions' - the engine of WTO negotiations. Copyright © The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • André Sapir & Bernard Hoekman & Aaditya Mattoo, 2007. "The political economy of services trade liberalization: a case for international regulatory cooperation?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8098, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/8098
    Note: SCOPUS: ar.j
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rolf J. Langhammer, 2005. "The EU Offer of Service Trade Liberalization in the Doha Round: Evidence of a Not-Yet-Perfect Customs Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 311-325, June.
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    4. Patrick Messerlin, 2005. "The Directive on Services: Rent Seekers Strike Back," Post-Print hal-01020771, HAL.
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    6. James Markusen & Thomas F. Rutherford & David Tarr, 2017. "Trade and direct investment in producer services and the domestic market for expertise," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Trade Policies for Development and Transition, chapter 19, pages 439-458 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    8. Barth, James R. & Marchetti, Juan A. & Nolle, Daniel E. & Sawangngoenyuang, Wanvimol, 2006. "Foreign banking: Do countries' WTO commitments match actual practices?," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2006-11, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    9. Jens Matthias Arnold & Aaditya Mattoo & Gaia Narciso, 2008. "Services Inputs and Firm Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Firm-Level Data," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(4), pages 578-599, August.
    10. Hoekman, Bernard & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2006. "Services, Economic Development and the Doha Round: Exploiting the Comparative Advantage of the WTO," CEPR Discussion Papers 5628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Rudolf Adhung, 2005. "Turning Hills into Mountains?Current Commitments under the GATS and Prospects for Change," Working Papers id:280, eSocialSciences.
    12. Mattoo, Aaditya, 2005. "Services in a development round : three goals and three proposals," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3718, The World Bank.
    13. Hoekman, Bernard, 2006. "Liberalizing trade in services : a survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4030, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard M. Hoekman & Aaditya Mattoo, 2013. "Liberalizing Trade in Services: Lessons from Regional and WTO Negotiations," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/34, European University Institute.
    2. Bernard Hoekman, 2008. "The General Agreement on Trade in Services: Doomed to Fail? Does it Matter?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 295-318, December.
    3. Giuseppe Bertola & Lorenza Mola, 2010. "Services Provision and Temporary Mobility: Freedoms and Regulation in the EU," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 633-653, April.
    4. Andrea Ariu & Giordano Mion, 2017. "Service Trade and Occupational Tasks: An Empirical Investigation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(9), pages 1866-1889, September.
    5. Philippa Dee, 2011. "Promoting Domestic Reforms Through Regionalism," Crawford School Research Papers 1107, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    6. Rolf J. Langhammer, 2010. "Unordnung in der internationalen Handelsordnung: Befunde, Gründe, Auswirkungen und Therapien," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(1), pages 75-98, February.
    7. Chauffour, Jean-Pierre & Maur, Jean-Christophe, 2010. "Beyond market access : the new normal of preferential trade agreements," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5454, The World Bank.
    8. Erik van der Marel, 2012. "Trade in Services and TFP: The Role of Regulation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(11), pages 1530-1558, November.
    9. Bas, Maria, 2014. "Does services liberalization affect manufacturing firms’ export performance? Evidence from India," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 569-589.
    10. Quamrul Alam & Mohammad Abu Yusuf & Ken Coghill, 2010. "Unilateral liberalisation and WTO GATS commitments: the telecommunications sector in selected countries," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 24(1), pages 43-64, May.
    11. Bianka Dettmer, 2012. "Business services outsourcing and economic growth: Evidence from a dynamic panel data approach," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-049, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Doha Round; GATS; Services trade; Trade negotiations; WTO;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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