Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Deeper Integration

Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Deeper Integration

Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Deeper Integration

Regionalism, Multilateralism, and Deeper Integration

Synopsis

Over the past decade, international economic liberalization has been pursued through both multilateral and regional arrangements. In the Uruguay Round, more than one hundred governments pledged their commitment to greater open trade in goods and services, and established new rules under the enforcement of the World Trade Organization. At the same time, however, many regional arrangements have been negotiated - including the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Nonetheless, controversy still rages about these arrangements. Are regional arrangements stumbling blocks or, in fact, building blocks for a more integrated and successful international economy? In this book, part of the Brookings Integrating National Economies series, Robert Z. Lawrence addresses this question and explains both sides of the raging debate.

Excerpt

During the past decade policymakers have pursued international economic liberalization through both multilateral and regional arrangements. in the World Trade Organization, more than one hundred governments have pledged greater open trade in goods and services. the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement are prominent examples of preferential, or regional, arrangements.

Arguments rage as to whether regional arrangements undercut or contribute to a more successful international economy. in this book, Robert Z. Lawrence argues that neither past experience nor traditional trade theory provides an adequate guide to answering these questions. in the 1930s, for instance, countries sought to withdraw from the world economy, and in the 1950s and 1960s some developing countries promoted import substitution rather than export and foreign investment policies. Today regional arrangements generally seek to facilitate their members' participation in the world economy. the traditional theoretical view of preferential trading arrangements focuses on their impact on border barriers. But this overlooks many features of deeper international integration that these recent arrangements cover.

Lawrence analyzes and compares the achievements and major risks of regional arrangements in Europe, America, and the Asia Pacific. Evolving regional arrangements could result in new forms of protectionism through rules of origin and antidumping and countervailing duties. However, some regional arrangements are . . .

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