The Domestic and International Policy Implications of 'Deep' versus 'Broad' Preferential Trade Agreements
31 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2008 Last revised: 10 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 21, 2008
The subject of "preferential trade agreements" (PTAs) has been the focus of significant discussion in recent years. Much of the attention has concerned the economic desirability of preferential trade liberalization versus multilateral trade liberalization. While the debate about the benefits and dangers of trade liberalization via PTAs is an important one, it tends to overlook or mask other, more basic questions about PTA formation, scope, and membership.
The thesis of this Article is that decisions regarding PTA formation, the precise PTA forms used, membership, and the sectoral scope of PTAs are, at their core, decisions about deepening existing economic relationships versus broadening to form new ones. That is, these and other PTA decisions operate within a larger framework in which each PTA decision is, ultimately, a choice between deepening a state's existing economic relationships to make them more fully integrative, versus broadening a state's formal transnational economic ties to include new ties that are less deep, in an integrative sense. This Article explores the legal and policy implications of this conceptualization of PTAs, with primary focus on U.S. PTA activity.
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