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Breaking gridlock: how path dependent layering enhances resilience in global trade governance

Faude, Benjamin (2020) Breaking gridlock: how path dependent layering enhances resilience in global trade governance. Global Policy. ISSN 1758-5880

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1758-5899.12822

Abstract

What are the implications of the proliferating preferential trade agreements (PTAs) for the liberal trade order? Many scholars and practitioners see large increases in PTAs as a destabilizing factor that undermines core features of the post-war international trade system. By contrast, this paper argues that the accelerated growth of PTAs since the mid-1990s enhances the resilience of the liberal trade order. PTAs increase the ability of the order to accommodate heterogeneous preferences and distributive conflicts. They represent a continuation of a longer path of liberalization set in motion by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This path-dependent development created conditions for a gradual expansion of the membership and the regulatory scope of the GATT/WTO system, but also heightened levels of preference heterogeneity and distributive conflicts. By enabling groups of states with homogenous preferences to layer new rules on top of the multilateral GATT/WTO system, PTAs enable the continuation of the liberalization path. Consequently, PTAs have served as complements rather than to undermine the WTO.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/17585899
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 08:18
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2020 12:24
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/103927

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