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Should the WTO require free trade agreements to eliminate internal tariffs?

Kamal Saggi (), Woan Foong Wong and Halis Yildiz ()

Journal of International Economics, 2019, vol. 118, issue C, 316-330

Abstract: In a three-country model of endogenous free trade agreements (FTAs), we study the effects of requiring FTA members to eliminate tariffs on one another, as is essentially stipulated under current WTO rules. We explain why, in the absence of such a requirement, FTAs members impose positive tariffs on each other even when maximizing their joint welfare. We show that requiring FTA members to eliminate internal tariffs induces them to lower their external tariffs. Such external trade liberalization by FTA members undermines the prospects of global free trade since it reduces the non-member's incentive to enter into trade agreements with them.

Keywords: Free trade agreements; Tariffs; Customs unions; World trade organization; Coalition proof Nash equilibrium; Welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F11 F12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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