Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Economic Integration: The Recent Experience

By Gary P. Sampson; Stephen Woolcock | Go to book overview

12
Conclusions
Stephen Woolcock

Introduction
By way of conclusions this chapter covers the three main questions posed in chapter 1:
1. What is the impact of regional agreements in the area of regulatory policy?
2. Do the approaches to regulatory barriers differ from region to region, and if so does this represent a risk of “regulatory regionalism”?
3. Are regional approaches competing with or complementing multilateral attempts to remove regulatory barriers to trade?

The first of these questions will be dealt with in a fairly comprehensive fashion in the following section, which summarizes the evidence from the case studies. This reveals a diverse picture, but one in which regional agreements tend to go beyond the provisions of the World Trade Organization (i.e. are WTO-plus) either in coverage or in terms of procedural provisions rather than substantive rule-making.

This leads to a discussion of differences in the approaches adopted by the various regional agreements. This shows that there are some quite significant differences, for example between the greater use of policy approximation/harmonization in agreements concluded by the European Union compared with the preference for a “policed national treatment” approach that tends to characterize the agreements centred on the United States. This section also shows that differences in how regions

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