A ‘New Trade’ Theory of GATT/WTO Negotiations

I develop a novel theory of GATT/WTO negotiations.

This theory provides new answers to two prominent questions in the trade policy literature: first, what is the purpose of trade negotiations? And second, what is the role played by the fundamental GATT/WTO principles of reciprocity and nondiscrimination? Relative to the standard terms-of-trade theory of GATT/WTO negotiations, my theory makes two main contributions: first, it builds on a ‘new trade’ model rather than the neoclassical trade model and therefore sheds new light on GATT/WTO negotiations between similar countries. Second, it relies on a production relocation externality rather than the terms-of-trade externality and therefore demonstrates that the terms-of-trade externality is not the only trade policy externality, which can be internalized in GATT/WTO negotiations.

No: ERSD-2009-08

Ralph Ossa — University of Chicago

Manuscript date: February 2009

Key Words:

GATT/WTO; New trade theory

JEL classification numbers:

F12, F13


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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of the author, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the author. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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