Kazunobu Hayakawa, Naoto Jinji, Toshiyuki Matsuura, Taiyo Yoshimi, 09 November 2019

Why don’t all firms utilise regional trade agreement schemes that offer lower tariff rates? This column argues that firms need to incur both variable and fixed costs to comply with rules of origin, which isn’t always worth the benefits. It develops a simple new method to quantify these costs, and finds that reducing fixed costs can be more effective and feasible in enhancing the utilisation of regional trade agreements than a decrease in variable costs.

Alvaro Espitia, Aaditya Mattoo, Mondher Mimouni, Xavier Pichot, Nadia Rocha, 10 July 2019

Preferential trade agreements cover more than half of world trade. This column argues that while the 280 preferential trade agreements in existence have substantially widened the scope of free trade and reduced average applied tariffs, they have struggled against traditional bastions of protection in poorer countries and have not been able to eliminate the high levels of protection for a handful of sensitive products. While preference margins offered to partners in such agreements seem large, their significance shrinks when competition from both preferential and non-preferential sources is considered.

Stéphanie Brunelin, Jaime de Melo, Alberto Portugal-Perez, 27 April 2018

Rules of origin play a crucial role in preferential trade agreements, and they can also deny intended market access for preference receivers. This column examines a relaxation by the EU of the origin requirements for selected products from Jordan, which is intended to create 200,000 job opportunities for Syrian refugees. While the relaxation decision may have an effect on the refugee crisis in Jordan, further simplifications in RoO requirements are called for.

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Services are gaining ever more importance in global trade and employment. While there is increasing consensus that the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) represents an inadequate international framework for services trade governance, sound economic policy prescriptions to support ongoing multilateral negotiations remain scarce.

Meanwhile, recent and forthcoming preferential trade agreements like CETA, TiSA, TPP and TTIP are filling the void, with yet unpredictable and potentially significant effects on labour markets. Given the crucial role of the services sector as the world's largest purveyor of employment, gaining a sounder understanding of the nexus between trade policies, services and labour markets is hence of utmost importance.

To that end, this workshop invites submissions on research in the domain of services trade and its implications for the labour market. We are particularly interested in analyses that substantiate specific policy recommendations.

Juan Marchetti, Martin Roy, 21 December 2013

One of the important trade talks going on outside the WTO is the Trade in Services Agreement, involving nations that account for around 70% of world services trade. China’s request to join has greatly heightened policy interest in the talks. This column explains the initiative and argues that the current negotiations must be broadened if participants' key export interests are to be addressed. This involves either changing some existing PTA commitments, or expanding the number of participants in the negotiations.

Leonardo Baccini, Andreas Dür, Manfred Elsig, 24 November 2013

Preferential trade agreements have been proliferating since the 1990s. However, research that focuses on differences of design of such agreements is scarce. This column analyses whether this is the case by exploring the effect of depth of preferential trade agreements on trade flows. It concludes that deep agreements have larger trade flow effects than shallow ones.

Jean-Pierre Chauffour, Jean-Christophe Maur, 28 July 2011

With the Doha Round of multilateral negotiations stuck in a rut, this column argues that preferential trade agreements may provide the necessary versatility to navigate the next frontier of trade liberalisation.

Nadia Rocha, Robert Teh, 21 July 2011

Preferential trade agreements are now a prominent feature of the global trading system. This column introduces the WTO's new World Trade Report that explores why deep regionalism is gaining momentum. It also proposes a number of options for increasing coherence between such agreements and the multilateral trading system.

Marco Fugazza, Alessandro Nicita, 15 December 2010

The multilateral trading system of the GATT and WTO is rapidly being replaced by a system dominated by preferential trade agreements. This column argues that this new system is complex in nature and provides a novel assessment of the implications for signatory countries and third parties.

Jaime de Melo, Céline Carrère, Bolormaa Klok, 21 November 2009

Almost all economies are party to preferential trade schemes. But how much are they “giving away” or “receiving” in preferential access? This column presents a compact representation of effective market access and applies it to the proposed ASEAN-EU trade agreement.

Gary Hufbauer, Dean DeRosa, 16 October 2007

Global tariff-cutting over the past decade was dominated by preferential trade agreements. These deals stimulate trade among members, but by creating tariff discrimination, they also divert trade from non-members. Recent research suggests that the majority of the world’s preferential deals created more trade than they diverted and so constitute a constructive force in the world economy.

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