The impact of rules of origin on trade flows

Economic Policy (Impact Factor: 2.33). 02/2005; 20(43):567-624. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0327.2005.00146.x
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT "A great deal of post-war trade liberalization resulted from regional, preferential trade agreements. Preferential trade agreements cut tariffs on goods originating only in those nations that have signed the agreement. Therefore, they need 'rules of origin' to determine which goods benefit from the tariff cut. Rules of origin have long been ignored for two good reasons: they are dauntingly complex and at first sight appear mind-numbingly dull. The third standard reason for ignoring them - the assertion that they do not matter much - turns out to be wrong. We show that rules of origin are important barriers to trade. Moreover, such rules are emerging as an important trade issue for three additional reasons. First, preferential trade deals are proliferating worldwide. Second, the global fragmentation of production implies complex international supply chains which are particularly constrained and distorted by rules of origin. Third, the extent to which regionalism challenges the WTO-based trading system depends in part on incompatibilities and rigidities built into rules of origin." Copyright © CEPR, CES, MSH, 2005.

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