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          Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization Toward Non-Members? (English)
          Working paper by Estevadeordal, Antoni; Freund, Caroline; Ornelas, Emanuel / World Bank, 2008, 61 pages
          Categories: Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements, Trade Policy Analysis and Trade Data Sources, WTO Issues/Multilateral Trading System

          This paper examines the effect of regionalism on unilateral trade liberalization using industry-level data on applied most-favored nation tariffs and bilateral preferences for ten Latin American countries from 1990 to 2001. The findings show that preferential tariff reduction in a given sector leads to a reduction in the external (most-favored nation) tariff in that sector. External liberalization is greater if preferences are granted to important suppliers. However, these "complementarity effects" of preferential liberalization on external liberalization do not arise in customs unions. Overall, the results suggest that concerns about a negative effect of preferential liberalization on external trade liberalization are unfounded.