Intricate Designs: The Architecture of Trade Agreements

A. Estevadeordal and K. Suominen

in The Sovereign Remedy?

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780199550159
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720253 | DOI:
Intricate Designs: The Architecture of Trade Agreements

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This chapter dissects the structure of the PTAs, examining some five dozen agreements by their various component parts, such as tariff liberalization, investment rules, and customs procedures. It concludes that most PTAs involve deep tariff liberalization, freeing 90% of products by the tenth year into the agreement. However, there are a number of outlier PTA parties (in general developing countries) and product categories (particularly sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, textiles and apparel, and footwear) that feature prolonged tariff phase-outs and/or non-tariff barriers. Some countries also trail the general patterns when the actual trade liberalized is being analyzed. Furthermore, a PTA contains such mutually reinforcing provisions as tariff lowering, investment, services, competition policy, government procurement, and trade facilitation, and often spells out these rules with great precision. There are marked variations across PTAs in the coverage of trade-related disciplines; yet, the analysis also shows that PTAs tend to cluster into distinct ‘families’ by the main world regions — Asia, Europe, and the Americas — and, in particular, by some global trade hubs, such as the United States, EU, and Singapore.

Keywords: preferential trading arrangements; PTAs; tariffs; investment; services; rules of origin

Chapter.  9723 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Economics

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