International Trade Organizations and Economies in Transition: A Glimpse of the Twenty-First Century

By Hufbauer, Gary | Law and Policy in International Business, Summer 1995 | Go to article overview

International Trade Organizations and Economies in Transition: A Glimpse of the Twenty-First Century


Hufbauer, Gary, Law and Policy in International Business


1. TRADE REGIMES OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Since 1945, both regional and multilateral regimes have governed international commerce and investment. These regimes helped create five decades of prosperity - one of the best periods in modern economic history. Because of their success, both regimes are likely to coexist in governing the international economic system of the Twenty-First Century.

At the core of the international trading system are the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and the new General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The GATT and the GATS, together with their new umbrella organization, the World Trade Organization (WTO), establish basic rules of the road for trade and investment. These rules are observed by about 120 nations; many of them are market-oriented industrial or semi-industrial countries, but some have different economic systems, and some are very poor.

Alongside the WTO are regional preferential trading arrangements (PTAs). The three most important are the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). Other important PTAs are the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Mercado Comun del Sur (MERCOSUR). Regional groups seek deeper trade and investment liberalization than achieved by the WTO.

Overarching political considerations shaped the evolution of international economic regimes during the Cold War. Russia, China and their allies were outside the system. National security objectives acted as "circuit breakers" on trade and investment disputes between the United States, Japan, and Europe. During this era, the substantial liberalization achieved under the auspices of the GATT and the PTAs principally reached the industrial nations of Europe, North America, and Asia - all market-oriented economies with high levels of income and similar social structures. Most developing nations in Asia and Latin America, not to mention the economies in transition, were on the fringes of the system or totally outside its reach.

II. NEW CHALLENGES

The deferred business of the international economic system is at hand. Deeper integration now exists both within once separatist economies - such as those states in Latin America, Asia, and Africa - and as between former adversaries - such as the People's Republic of China and the states of the former Soviet Union. The first stop for nearly all the economies in transition (EITs) will be the World Trade Organization. The WTO will expose the EITs to systematic rules on merchandise and services trade, on the protection of intellectual property, and on the treatment of foreign investors. But many EITs want more than WTO membership. They want membership in one of the big three regional groups, the EU, NAFTA, or APEC.

The European Union faces the question over the next five years of accession by Central European nations. Beyond that, there are the claims of Ukraine and Russia, not of full membershiP, but of close economic association with the European Union. Similarly the NAFTA members must decide whether to enlarge to the South by admitting the small countries of the Caribbean and Central America, the successful medium-sized Latin nations, such as Chile, Columbia, and Argentina, and whether to forge a relationship with MERCOSUR and Brazil. As for APEC, several countries would like to join: Vietnam, Peru, India, and Russia, among others.

The number of EITs desiring membership in the regional arrangements poses two questions: how ready are the PTAs to accept new members and how ready are new members to join the PTAs?

III. OBSTACLES TO PTA ENLARGEMENT

Obstacles to economic integration exist quite apart from the special problems of EITs. Indeed, the march toward free trade and investment often has been interrupted since the Second World War. One way to view the process is this: an economic trend superimposed on a political cycle. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

International Trade Organizations and Economies in Transition: A Glimpse of the Twenty-First Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.