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WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.

English

Can Bilateralism Ease the Pains of Multilateral Trade Liberalization?

Using the influence-driven approach to endogenous trade-policy determination, we show how a free-trade agreement (FTA) with rules of origin can work as a device to compensate losers from trade liberalization. The FTA constructed in this paper is characterized by external tariff structures that are negatively correlated across member countries, ensuring efficiency gains and, through reduced average protection, compatibility with the multilateral trading system's requirements. It is also politically viable, and we demonstrate that, in the countries concerned, governments are willing to include its formation in the political agenda in spite of the fact that, in equilibrium, political contributions from producer lobbies decline after the agreement.

English

Keywords: Free trade areas, political economy
JEL: F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; F15: International Economics / Trade / Economic Integration; F11: International Economics / Trade / Neoclassical Models of Trade
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