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36 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (1998)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks36 and id is 1 raw text is: 













Journal of Common Market Studies                                 Vol. 36, No. 1
                                                                   March 1998







     Political Economy Considerations on the

              Supply of Trade Protection in

          Regional Integration Agreements *


                              SANOUSSI   BLAL
                   European Institute of Public Administration
                      O.L. Vrouweplein 22, P.O. Box 1229
                            NL-6201 BE Maastricht
                               The Netherlands



                                  Abstract

     The purpose of this article is to discuss the institutional aspects of regional
     integration and its implication for the determination of external trade policies
     by a trade bloc. In particular, this study raises the question, can institutional
     designs in a regional integration area increase the responsiveness of trade
     authorities to protectionist demands? Contrary to some previous research, the
     analysis shows that the answer is affirmative. As illustrated by the European
     Union (EU) experience, the supply of trade protection in the context of regional
     integration crucially depends on the design and evolution of institutions
     adopted by the trade bloc. Moreover, the dynamic process of regional integra-
     tion entails a redefinition of rules which inevitably attracts lobbying activities
     (in particular from those with protectionist interests). In consequence, in the
     absence of a strong political commitment, the danger exists that the design of
     new institutions will be captured by protectionist forces.


                               I. Introduction

The recent proliferation of regional integration agreements (RIAs), including the
North  American  Free  Trade Area  (NAFTA),   and  other agreements  in Latin
*I would like to thank Jaime de Melo and L. Alan Winters, as well as Jim L. Ford, Jean-Marie Grether,
Marcelo Olarreaga and an anonymous referee for their helpful comments.
D Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA

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