Gains from Convergence in US and EU Auto Regulations Under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
37 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 1, 2015
Regulatory standards protect consumers from defective products, but they impede trade when they differ across countries. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) seeks to reduce distortions in the automobile and other industries. This paper evaluates the equivalence of automobile regulations in the United States and the European Union in terms of catastrophe avoidance and estimates the trade gains from improved regulatory coherence. The UN 1958 Agreement on automobiles, which offers a framework for harmonizing regulations among signatories, is used to quantify the trade effect of regulatory convergence. The removal of regulatory differences in autos is estimated to increase trade by 20 percent or more. The effect on trade from harmonizing standards is only slightly smaller than the effect of EU accession on auto trade. The large economic gains from regulatory harmonization imply that TTIP has the potential to improve productivity while lowering prices and enhancing variety for consumers.
Keywords: Regulatory harmonization, difference-in-differences, trade agreement
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