Regionalism in Standards: Good or Bad for Trade?

26 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008

See all articles by Maggie Xiaoyang Chen

Maggie Xiaoyang Chen

George Washington University

Aaditya Mattoo

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

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Regional agreements on standards have been largely ignored by economists and blessed by multilateral trade rules. Using a constructed panel data that identifies the different types of agreements at the industry level, we find that such agreements increase the trade between participating countries but not necessarily with the rest of the world. Harmonization of standards may reduce the exports of excluded countries, especially in markets that have raised the stringency of standards. Mutual recognition agreements are more uniformly trade promoting unless they contain restrictive rules of origin, in which case intra-regional trade increases at the expense of imports from other countries.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Maggie Xiaoyang and Mattoo, Aaditya, Regionalism in Standards: Good or Bad for Trade?. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, Vol. 41, Issue 3, pp. 838-863, August/août 2008, Available at SSRN: or

Maggie Xiaoyang Chen (Contact Author)

George Washington University ( email )

710 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Aaditya Mattoo

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Room MC 3-327
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-458-8047 (Phone)
202-676-9810 (Fax)


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