Multilateral Trade Bargaining: a First Look at the GATT Bargaining Records
71 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2015 Last revised: 20 Mar 2021
Date Written: August 2015
This paper empirically examines recently declassified data from the GATT/WTO on tariff bargaining. We document eight stylized facts about these interconnected high-stakes international negotiations. We use detailed product-level offer and counteroffer data to examine several questions about trade policy, including whether preferential tariffs were a stumbling block towards liberalization, and whether the relaxation of bilateral reciprocity to multilateral reciprocity aided liberalization. We organize the empirical analysis around a theoretical model of multi-party trade negotiations motivated by the terms-of-trade theory and respecting the institutional features of most-favored-nation status and reciprocity.
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