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An Interim Assessment of the U.S. Trade Policy of “Competitive Liberalization”


  • Simon J. Evenett


  • Michael Meier



Since taking office the Administration of George W. Bush has pursued a trade policy known as Competitive Liberalization. This policy envisages a series of mutually-reinforcing steps to open markets abroad to U.S. companies, to strengthen market-oriented laws and regulations overseas, and to place the U.S. at the centre of the world trading system. Foreign and security policy considerations have influenced U.S. trade policymaking, perhaps more so than in the 1990s. To date the principal outcome of this policy has been the negotiation by the U.S. of numerous free trade agreements, mainly with developing countries individually or in subregional groupings. In addition to characterising this policy in detail, the principal purpose of this paper is to assess the logic underlying this approach to trade policymaking and whether Competitive Liberalization has begun to fulfil the promise spelt out for it at the beginning of this decade.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon J. Evenett & Michael Meier, 2007. "An Interim Assessment of the U.S. Trade Policy of “Competitive Liberalization”," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-18, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2007:2007-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard E. Baldwin, 1997. "The Causes of Regionalism," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(7), pages 865-888, November.
    2. C. Fred Bergsten, 1996. "Competitive Liberalization and Global Free Trade: A Vision for the Early 21st Century," Working Paper Series WP96-15, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    3. Richard E. Feinberg, 2003. "The Political Economy of United States' Free Trade Arrangements," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(7), pages 1019-1040, July.
    4. C. Fred Bergsten, 2005. "The United States and the World Economy: Foreign Economic Policy for the Next Decade," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3802.
    5. Jeffrey J. Schott (ed.), 2004. "Free Trade Agreements: US Strategies and Priorities," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 375.
    6. Richard Baldwin, 1993. "A Domino Theory of Regionalism," NBER Working Papers 4465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. G. K. Helleiner, 1996. "Why Small Countries Worry: Neglected Issues in Current Analyses of the Benefits and Costs for Small Countries of Integrating with Large Ones," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(6), pages 759-764, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Jorge F. Garzón, 2015. "Latin American Regionalism in a Multipolar World," RSCAS Working Papers 2015/23, European University Institute.

    More about this item


    United States; trade policy; commercial policy; Competitive Liberalization; WTO; regional trade agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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