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

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  • Nuno Limão

    (University of Maryland)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno Limão, 2002. "Are Preferential Trade Agreements with Non-trade Objectives a Stumbling Bloc for Multilateral Liberalization?," International Trade 0206001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpit:0206001
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on PC; pages: 45; figures: included
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C., 2001. "Economic and legal aspects of the Most-Favored-Nation clause," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 233-279, June.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Wilfred J. Ethier, 1998. "Regionalism in a Multilateral World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1214-1245, December.
    9. Madanmohan Ghosh & Carlo Perroni & John Whalley, 1998. "The Value of MFN Treatment," NBER Working Papers 6461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ludema, Rodney D. & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2009. "Do countries free ride on MFN?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 137-150, April.
    2. Nuno Limão & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2006. "Trade Preferences to Small Developing Countries and the Welfare Costs of Lost Multilateral Liberalization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 217-240.
    3. Bagwell, Kyle & Staiger, Robert W., 2010. "Backward stealing and forward manipulation in the WTO," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 49-62, September.
    4. Bernhard Herz & Marco Wagner, 2010. "Multilateralism versus Regionalism!?," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_043, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    5. Limão, Nuno, 2005. "Preferential Trade Agreements as Stumbling Blocks for Multilateral Trade Liberalization: Evidence for the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 4884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Karacaovali, Baybars & Limão, Nuno, 2008. "The clash of liberalizations: Preferential vs. multilateral trade liberalization in the European Union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 299-327, March.
    7. Nuno Limao, 2006. "Preferential Trade Agreements as Stumbling Blocks for Multilateral Trade Liberalization: Evidence for the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 896-914, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Multilateral trade negotiations; most-favorite-nation; regional integration; cross-border externalities; environment; labor standards; bargaining; repeated games.;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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