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Why Do Economies Enter into Preferential Agreements on Trade in Services? Assessing the Potential for Negotiated Regulatory Convergence in Asian Services Markets

Anirudh Shingal () and Pierre Sauvé

Papers from World Trade Institute

Abstract: Asian Development Review Volume 33, Issue 1 - March 2016: More than one-third of the World Trade Organization-notified services trade agreements that were in effect between January 2008 and August 2015 involved at least one South or Southeast Asian trading partner. Drawing on Baier and Bergstrand’s (2004) determinants of preferential trade agreements and using the World Bank’s database on the restrictiveness of domestic services regimes (Borchert, Gootiiz, and Mattoo 2012), we examine the potential for negotiated regulatory convergence in Asian services markets. Our results suggest that Asian economies with high levels of preexisting bilateral merchandise trade and wide differences in services regulatory frameworks are more likely candidates for services trade agreement formation. Such results lend support to the hypothesis that the heightened “servicification” of production generates demand for the lowered services input costs resulting from negotiated market openings.

Date: 2016-03-01
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