American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 7 (December 2012)


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Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements

Article Citation

Antràs, Pol, and Robert W. Staiger. 2012. "Offshoring and the Role of Trade Agreements." American Economic Review, 102(7): 3140-83.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.7.3140


The rise of offshoring of intermediate inputs raises important questions for commercial policy. Do the distinguishing features of offshoring introduce novel reasons for trade policy intervention? Does offshoring create new problems of global policy cooperation whose solutions require international agreements with novel features? In this paper we provide answers to these questions, and thereby initiate the study of trade agreements in the presence of offshoring. We argue that the rise of offshoring will make it increasingly difficult for governments to rely on traditional GATT/WTO concepts and rules -- such as market access, reciprocity and non-discrimination -- to solve their trade-related problems. (JEL F12, F13, L24)

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Antràs, Pol (Harvard U)
Staiger, Robert W. (U WI)

JEL Classifications

F12: Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies
F13: Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
L24: Contracting Out; Joint Ventures; Technology Licensing

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