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Regionalism and trade facilitation : a primer

  • Maur, Jean-Christophe

This paper investigates when trade facilitation reform should be undertaken at the regional level. First, looking at both efficiency and implementation considerations, it confirms the perception that the regional dimension matters. Investigating where efficiency gains can be made, this research explains why national markets alone fail to produce the full scale economies and positive externalities of trade facilitation reform. Second, because trade facilitation policies need to address coordination and capacity failures, and because of the operational complexity challenge, the choice of the adequate platform for delivering reform is crucial. The lessons are that regional trade agreements offer good prospects of comprehensive and effective reform and can effectively complement multilateral and national initiatives. However, examples of implementation of trade facilitation reform in regional agreements do not seem to indicate that regional integration approaches have been more successful than trade facilitation through specific cooperation agreements or other efforts, multilateral or unilateral. Customs unions may be an exception here, and the author suggests reasons why this could be the case.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4464.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4464
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  1. C. Fred Bergsten, 1997. "Open Regionalism," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 545-565, 08.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Borders, Trade and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 8515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Evdokia Moïsé, 2005. "Trade Facilitation Reforms in the Service of Development: Country Case Studies," OECD Trade Policy Papers 12, OECD Publishing.
  13. Maurice Schiff & L. Alan Winters, 2003. "Regional Integration and Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15172, December.
  14. Kanbur, Ravi & Sandler, Todd & Morrison, Kevin, 1999. "The Future of Development Assistance: Common Pools and International Public Goods," Staff General Research Papers 1629, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  15. Tarik Yousef & Hassan Al-Atrash, 2000. "Intra-Arab Trade; Is it too Little?," IMF Working Papers 00/10, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Luc De Wulf & José B. Sokol, 2005. "Customs Modernization Handbook," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7216, December.
  17. Sauve, Pierre & Zampetti, Americo Beviglia, 2000. "Subsidiarity Perspectives on the New Trade Agenda," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 83-114, March.
  18. Jack Hirshleifer, 1983. "From weakest-link to best-shot: The voluntary provision of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 371-386, January.
  19. Kemp, Murray C. & Wan, Henry Jr., 1976. "An elementary proposition concerning the formation of customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-97, February.
  20. Mattoo, Aaditya & Fink, Carsten, 2002. "Regional agreements and trade services - policy issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2852, The World Bank.
  21. Schiff, Maurice & Winters, L. Alan, 2002. "Regional cooperation, and the role of international organizations and regional integration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2872, The World Bank.
  22. Baldwin, Richard, 2000. "Regulatory Protectionism, Developing Nations and a Two-Tier World Trade System," CEPR Discussion Papers 2574, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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