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Trade Liberalization Benefits to NAFTA Countries. By Cordula Thum
Mar 19, 2002

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  • Comment Board
  • The general rule in trade negotiations stands: Liberalization packages must offer perceived benefits to producer and consumer interests in each major country. This is in particular harder now with 144 Member countries in the WTO. Regarding benefits and costs of these packages, it appears that services barriers have in particular significant costs. This is attested by the potential gains in economic welfare that the modeling studies from Stern, Brown, and Deardorff suggest. The economic benefits from trade liberalization would be realized if the barriers were to be reduced or removed. Thus the benefits weigh in the costs.

    Given the difficulty of reaching agreements at the multilateral level, the question arises whether more progress might be made at the regional level, where fewer players are involved, political goals might help more, and the negotiating countries might in any case be natural trading partners. However, the current obstacles to liberalization exist seemingly as fully at the regional level as at the multilateral level. Trade negotiators might as well have the debate on trade liberalization at the global level, where economic benefits would be tremendous, as we will develop below.

    The reductions of tariffs for goods and barriers for services provide the most visible evidence of the level of integration of countries into a global trading system.

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