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International Trade Agreements and International Migration

Despite large potential economic gains to the countries concerned, bilateral and multilateral negotiations regarding liberalization of migration have not had the high profile of trade negotiations and agreements. Migration and trade have been traditionally the prerogative of different ministries, yet there are many interdependencies between international trade, foreign investment and migration. The relevance of these interdependencies for trade negotiations has been remarkably ignored in the literature. In this paper we therefore focus on the two-way interaction between international migration and agreements designed to enhance cross-border trade or investment. Liberalization of international trade in services and the movement of people are likely to offer much more significant economic gains than liberalization of remaining barriers to goods trade. However, progress within multilateral frameworks is fraught with difficulty. Mode IV of GATS is restricted to temporary movement of service employees and has yielded little progress so far. Negotiations within more flexible unilateral and bilateral frameworks are likely to be more successful in liberalizing the movement of labour. We discuss several specific examples and conclude that trade negotiations are increasingly accommodating migration policies that favour temporary migration over permanent migration and that the migration regulatory framework is likely to be further linked to trade and investment over time.

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Paper provided by University of Waikato, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 09/06.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 04 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:09/06
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