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