Beyond the WTO? An Anatomy of EU and US Preferential Trade Agreements

36 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2009

See all articles by Henrik Horn

Henrik Horn

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Bruegel

Petros C. Mavroidis

Columbia University - Law School; European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW); European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS)

Andre Sapir

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES); Bruegel; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

It is often alleged that PTAs involving the EC and the US include a significant number of obligations in areas not currently covered by the WTO Agreement, such as investment protection, competition policy, labour standards and environmental protection. The primary purpose of this study is highlight the extent to which these claims are true. The study divides the contents of all PTAs involving the EC and the US currently notified to the WTO, into 14 WTO+ and 38 WTO-X areas, where WTO+ provisions come under the current mandate of the WTO, and WTO-X provisions deal with issues lying outside the current WTO mandate. As a second step, the legal enforceability of each obligation is evaluated, judged on the extent to which the text specifies clear obligations. Among the findings are:

(i) EC agreements contain almost four times as many instances of WTO-X provisions as do US agreements;

(ii) but EC agreements evidence a very significant amount of ‘legal inflation' (i.e., non-legally enforceable provisions) in the WTO-X category, and US agreements actually contain a more of enforceable WTO-X provisions than do the EC agreements; and

(iii) US agreements tend to emphasize regulatory areas more compared to EC agreements.

Keywords: enforceable, legal inflation, Preferential trading agreements

JEL Classification: F13, F15, K33

Suggested Citation

Horn, Henrik and Mavroidis, Petros C. and Sapir, Andre, Beyond the WTO? An Anatomy of EU and US Preferential Trade Agreements (June 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7317, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433913

Henrik Horn (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ-law.se

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ-law.se

Bruegel ( email )

Rue de la Charité 33
B-1210 Brussels Belgium, 1210
Belgium

Petros C. Mavroidis

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
ITALY

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

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50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

Andre Sapir

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 2345/4 (Phone)
+32 2 650 4475 (Fax)

Bruegel ( email )

Rue de la Charité 33
B-1210 Brussels Belgium, 1210
Belgium

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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