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Are Preferential Trade Agreements with Non-trade Objectives a Stumbling Bloc for Multilateral Liberalization?

  • Nuno Limão

    (University of Maryland)

Increasingly, in regional agreements, large economies, e.g. U.S. and E.U., offer lower trade barriers in exchange for cooperation by small economies in environmental, intellectual property and other issues. What is the effect of such agreements on multilateral trade liberalization? We show that, even in the absence of trade creation or diversion, such preferential agreements increase the cost of multilateral tariff reductions for the goods exported from small to large countries. This occurs because multilateral tariff reductions decrease the threat that large countries can use in preferential agreements causing a loss in their bargaining power. The result is due to current exceptions in the WTO to the most-favorite-nation rule which allow for lower than MFN tariffs, e.g. art. XXIV and GSP. By explicitly modeling the interaction between preferential and multilateral negotiations we analyze the effects on multilateral tariffs and welfare of strengthening the MFN rule and show that large and small countries may not prefer the same regime of rules.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/it/papers/0206/0206001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Trade with number 0206001.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 26 Jun 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0206001
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on PC; pages: 45; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Bond, Eric W. & Syropoulos, Constantinos & Winters, L. Alan, 2001. "Deepening of regional integration and multilateral trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 335-361, April.
  2. Arvind Panagariya, 2000. "Preferential Trade Liberalization: The Traditional Theory and New Developments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 287-331, June.
  3. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C, 2001. "Economic and Legal Aspects of the Most Favoured Nation Clause," CEPR Discussion Papers 2859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Fernandez, Raquel & Portes, Jonathan, 1998. "Returns to Regionalism: An Analysis of Nontraditional Gains from Regional Trade Agreements," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 197-220, May.
  5. Giovanni Maggi, 1999. "The Role of Multilateral Institutions in International Trade Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 190-214, March.
  6. Wilfred J. Ethier, 1998. "Regionalism in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1214-1245, December.
  7. Madanmohan Ghosh & Carlo Perroni & John Whalley, 1998. "The Value of MFN Treatment," NBER Working Papers 6461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Carlo Perroni & John Whalley, 2000. "The new regionalism: trade liberalization or insurance?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 1-24, February.
  9. Cebi, Pinar & Ludema, Rodney, 2002. "The Rise and Fall of the Most-Favored-Nation Clause," Working Papers 15853, United States International Trade Commission, Office of Economics.
  10. Lisandro Abrego & Carlo Perroni & John Whalley & Randall M. Wigle, 1997. "Trade and Environment: Bargaining Outcomes from Linked Negotiations," NBER Working Papers 6216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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