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Termites in the Trading SystemHow Preferential Agreements Undermine Free Trade$
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Jagdish Bhagwati

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331653

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331653.001.0001

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What Do We Do Now?

What Do We Do Now?

Chapter 4 What Do We Do Now?
Termites in the Trading System

Jagdish Bhagwati

Oxford University Press

It is clearly shown that the situation regarding preferential trade agreements (PTAs) cries out for palliatives and for solutions. Three options have been explored: (1) halting the formation of new PTAs and eliminating the preferences in existing PTAs through built-in reductions of the differentials between most favored nation (MFN) tariffs on nonmembers and the preferential tariffs on members; (2) reducing the chaos of the spaghetti bowl through harmonization and similar techniques that turn the spaghetti, as it were, into lasagna; and (3) using multilateral trade negotiations such as the Doha Round to reduce the MFN tariffs to negligible levels, thus decreasing the preference by indirection: preferences relative to zero would be zero. These three options are specifically elaborated in this chapter.

Keywords:   preferential trade agreements, most favored nation tariff, preferential tariff, multilateral trade, Doha Round

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