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Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment: An Economic Assessment

Joseph Francois, Miriam Manchin (), Hanna Norberg, Olga Pindyuk and Patrick Tomberger ()

No 2015-03, Economics working papers from Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria

Abstract: This study reviews the importance of the bilateral economic relationship between the EU and US. It integrates NTB estimates, based on gravity modeling and firm surveys, with computable general equilibrium (CGE)-based estimates for the economy-wide impact of reducing both tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Estimates are provided with regards to expected changes in GDP, sector output, aggregate and bilateral trade flows, wages, and labour displacement, among other issues. The study investigates different policy options for the deepening of the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the EU and US. These range from partial agreements that are limited in the scope of barriers they would address (tariffs only, or services only, or procurement only) to a full-fledged free trade agreement (FTA) with a comprehensive liberalisation agenda covering simultaneously tariffs, procurement, NTBs for goods, and NTBs for services. The study also quantifies potential benefits from NTB reduction affecting FDI. The overall message is that negotiating an agreement that would be of a comprehensive nature would bring significantly greater benefits to both economies. A core message that follows from the results is that focusing efforts on reducing NTBs is critical to the logic of transatlantic trade liberalization. Different approaches to the same regulatory challenges have the unintended consequence of increasing costs for firms, which have to comply with two regulatory environments, dragging down labour productivity. Negotiation on NTBs provides the opportunity to pursue a mix of cross-recognition and regulatory convergence to reduce these barriers. Compared to a focus on NTBS, just limiting the exercise to tariffs would lead to much more limited, though positive effects. CEPR report for the European Commission.

Date: 2013-03
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