The Political Economy of International Trade

Authored by: Kenneth Heydon

The Ashgate Research Companion To International Trade Policy

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409408352
eBook ISBN: 9781315613086
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043096


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Through successive General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rounds, extensive unilateral liberalization and the liberalizing effects of global supply chains, international trade has become more open. But much remains to be done and the job is getting harder. This chapter examines why. The first section looks at the recent record of market opening, before an examination, in the second section, of the political economy of trade liberalization’s concentrated costs and dispersed gains. The third section addresses some new challenges facing trade policy – multipolarity and bilateralism, increased complexity, and the role of non-state players – and suggests that their importance stems from their linkage to the ‘old’ issue of the political economy of trade. The chapter concludes with some suggested ways forward – most importantly the need to place trade policy firmly within the overall framework of sound domestic economic management.

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