"Multilateralism and regionalism: Complementary or contradictory? The case of transatlantic trade relations"
Author(s)Kerremans, Bart .
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AbstractSince the end of the Uruguay Round, the world trading system has experienced the emergence of a large group of regional blocs. Ranging from the NAFTA and the Mercosur to the APEC and the enlargements of the EU, regional blocs seem to become factors that have to be taken seriously in the future trading system. The abundance of literature indicates that this is widely recognized by scholars in international political economy and international economics. Far from leading to a consensus on the effects of regionalism on the multilateral trading system, the scientific debate reveals the controversies in assessing these effects. The purpose of this paper is not to provide or even attempt to provide the answer to that question. Its objective is rather to look into a concrete case to see what extent the relation between regional bloc formation and multilateralism can affect the multilateral trading system and the bilateral relations between trading blocs. For that purpose, the paper aims at providing an analysis of the way in which the relations between the two largest trading blocs in the World Trade Organizations affects the multilateral character of the WTO-system and is affected by it. Rather than indicating whether regionalism contradicts multilateralism, the paper aims at analyzing the interplay between the two by looking at a concrete case: the transatlantic trade relations. In these relations, one regional trading bloc (the European Union) develops relations with a country that in itself forms the center (if not the regional hegemon) of another (admittedly weaker) regional trading block, i.e. NAFTA. The paper will go deeper into the question of the extent to which the preservation of multilateralism requires a prudent approach towards the possible development of a Transatlantic regionalism. It tries to assess the importance of this multilateral factor by comparing it with the relative influence of other (bilateral and domestic) factors.
TypeConference or Workshop Item
Kerremans, Bart . (1997) "Multilateralism and regionalism: Complementary or contradictory? The case of transatlantic trade relations". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)