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On the Relationship between Preferential and Multilateral Trade Liberalization: The Case of Customs Unions

  • Kamal Saggi

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Alan Woodland

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of New South Wales)

  • Halis Murat Yildiz

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Ryerson University)

This paper analyzes a game of trade policy (called Bilateralism) between three countries in which each country chooses whether to liberalize trade preferentially in the form of a Customs Union (CU), multilaterally, or not at all. We also analyze a restricted version of this game (called Multilateralism) under which countries do not have the option to form CUs. The analysis sheds light on the relationship between multilateral and preferential trade liberalization as sanctioned by GATT Article XXIV. We find that when countries have symmetric endowments, global free trade can be achieved without permitting CUs. Allowing for asymmetry, we isolate circumstances where Article XXIV helps further the cause of multilateral liberalization as well as when it does not. Furthermore, we show that Article XXIV's stipulation -- that countries forming a CU not raise tariffs on outsiders -- fails to make multilateral liberalization any more attractive to countries. However, such a tariff restriction does lower the adverse impact of a CU on the non-member.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu11-w16.pdf
File Function: First version, September 2011
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 1116.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:1116
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Pravin Krishna, 1998. "Regionalism And Multilateralism: A Political Economy Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 227-250, February.
  2. Raymond Riezman, 1999. "Can Bilateral Trade Agreements Help Induce Free Trade?," CSGR Working papers series 44/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  3. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1993. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation during the Formation of Customs Unions," NBER Working Papers 4543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Riezman, Raymond, 1985. "Customs unions and the core," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 355-365, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 1993. "Multilateral Tariff Cooperation During the Formation of Free Trade Areas," Discussion Papers 1048, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Monika Mrázová & David Vines & Ben Zissimos, 2010. "Is the WTO Article XXIV Bad?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1021, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria II. Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 13-29, June.
  9. Taiji Furusawa & Hideo Konishi, 2002. "Free Trade Networks," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 548, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 08 Sep 2003.
  10. John Kennan & Raymond Riezman, 1990. "Optimal Tariff Equilibria with Customs Unions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 70-83, February.
  11. Kamal Saggi, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements And Multilateral Tariff Cooperation ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 29-57, 02.
  12. Philippe Aghion & Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Negotiating Free Trade," NBER Working Papers 10721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bond, Eric W. & Riezman, Raymond G. & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 2004. "A strategic and welfare theoretic analysis of free trade areas," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
  14. Melatos, Mark & Woodland, Alan, 2007. "Endogenous trade bloc formation in an asymmetric world," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 901-924, May.
  15. Syropoulos, Constantinos, 2003. "Rules for the disposition of tariff revenues and the determination of common external tariffs in customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 387-416, August.
  16. Saggi, Kamal & Yildiz, Halis Murat, 2010. "Bilateralism, multilateralism, and the quest for global free trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 26-37, May.
  17. Freund, Caroline, 2000. "Multilateralism and the endogenous formation of preferential trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 359-376, December.
  18. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  19. Costas Hadjiyiannis, 2004. "Regionalism and Multilateral Trade Liberalization with Asymmetric Countries," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 395-411, 08.
  20. Bond, Eric W. & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "The size of trading blocs Market power and world welfare effects," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 411-437, May.
  21. Goyal, S. & Joshi, S., 1999. "Bilateralism and free trade," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9953-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  22. Sang-Seung, Yi, 1996. "Endogenous formation of customs unions under imperfect competition: open regionalism is good," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1-2), pages 153-177, August.
  23. Seidmann, Daniel J., 2009. "Preferential trading arrangements as strategic positioning," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 143-159, September.
  24. Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Rent Destruction and the Political Viability of Free Trade Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1475-1506, November.
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