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Trade preferences to small developing countries and the welfare costs of lost multilateral liberalization

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  • Limao, Nuno
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo

Abstract

The proliferation of preferential trade liberalization over the past 20 years has raised the question of whether it slows down multilateral trade liberalization. Recent theoretical and empirical evidence indicates this is the case even for unilateral preferences that industrial countries provide to small and poor countries but there is no estimate of the resulting welfare costs. To avoid this stumbling block effect the authors suggest replacing unilateral preferences by a fixed import subsidy. They argue that this scheme would reduce the drag of preferences on multilateral liberalization and generate a Pareto improvement. More important, the authors provide the first estimates of the welfare cost of preferential liberalization as a stumbling block to multilateral liberalization. By combining recent estimates of the stumbling block effect of preferences with data for 170 countries and over 5,000 products they calculate the welfare effects of the United States, European Union, and Japan switching from unilateral preferences to the developing countries to the import subsidy scheme. Even in a model with no dynamic gains to trade the authors find that the switch produces an annual net welfare gain for the 170 countries ($4,354 million) and for each group: the United States, European Union, and Japan ($2,934 million), the developing countries ($520 million), and the rest of the world ($900 million).

Suggested Citation

  • Limao, Nuno & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2005. "Trade preferences to small developing countries and the welfare costs of lost multilateral liberalization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3565, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3565
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Persson, Maria, 2012. "From trade preferences to trade facilitation: Taking stock of the issues," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-33.
    2. Joseph Francois & Bernard Hoekman & Miriam Manchin, 2006. "Preference Erosion and Multilateral Trade Liberalization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, pages 197-216.
    3. Estevadeordal, Antoni & Shearer, Matthew & Suominen, Kati, 2011. "Regional Integration in the Americas: State of Play, Lessons, and Ways Forward," ADBI Working Papers 277, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    4. Ketterer, Tobias D. & Bernhofen, Daniel M. & Milner, Chris, 2015. "The impact of trade preferences on multilateral tariff cuts: Evidence for Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 31-51.
    5. Karacaovali, Baybars & Limão, Nuno, 2008. "The clash of liberalizations: Preferential vs. multilateral trade liberalization in the European Union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 299-327.
    6. Silva, Peri, 2011. "The role of importers and exporters in the determination of the U.S. tariff preferences granted to Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 207-219, March.
    7. Karacaovali, Baybars & Limao, Nuno, 2005. "The clash of liberalizations : preferential versus multilateral trade liberalization in the European Union," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3493, The World Bank.
    8. Matthew Shearer & Kati Suominen & Antoni Estevadeordal, 2009. "Multilateralising RTAs in the Americas: State of Play and Ways Forward," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2522, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Will Martin & Kym Anderson, 2006. "Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6889.
    10. Persson, Maria, 2013. "Trade Preferences from a Policy Perspective," Working Papers 2013:3, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    11. Robert Z. Lawrence & Tatiana Rosito, 2006. "A New Compensation Mechanism for Preference Erosion in the Doha Round," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2408, Inter-American Development Bank.
    12. Mohamed Hedi Bchir & Stephen N. Karingi & Andrew Mold & Patrick N. Osakwe & Mustapha Sadni Jallab, 2007. "The Doha development round and Africa: partial and general equilibrium analyses of tariff preference erosion," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, pages 287-295.
    13. Lawrence, Robert Z. & Rosito, Tatiana, 2006. "A New Compensation Mechanism for Preference Erosion in the Doha Round," Working Paper Series rwp06-044, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    14. Lawrence, Robert Z. & Rosito, Tatiana, 2006. "A New Compensation Mechanism for Preference Erosion in the Doha Round," Working Paper Series rwp06-044, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    15. Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Chakir, Raja & Gallezot, Jacques, 2006. "The Utilisation of EU and US Trade Preferences for Developing Countries in the Agri-Food Sector," Working Papers 18867, TRADEAG - Agricultural Trade Agreements.
    16. Hoekman. Bernard & Prowse, Susan, 2005. "Economic policy responses to preference erosion : from trade as aid toaid for trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3721, The World Bank.
    17. Matthew Shearer & Kati Suominen & Antoni Estevadeordal, 2009. "Multilateralising RTAs in the Americas: State of Play and Ways Forward," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9300, Inter-American Development Bank.
    18. Nuno Limão, 2016. "Preferential Trade Agreements," NBER Working Papers 22138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Bernard Hoekman & Will Martin & Carlos A. Primo Braga, 2009. "Trade Preference Erosion : Measurement and Policy Response," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9437.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT; Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Trade and Regional Integration; Export Competitiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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