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The role of regional agreements in trade and investment rule-making.

Woolcock, Stephen (2007) The role of regional agreements in trade and investment rule-making. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the role of regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements in rule-making. Rule-making at the regional and bilateral levels has become more important, but there are at present no general criteria for assessing its impact. The thesis discusses the existing literature on preferential trade agreements and argues that there is a gap in terms of how rule-making in RTAs and FTAs might be assessed. An analytical framework is then developed that provides the basis for a qualitative assessment of the role of RTAs and FTAs. This framework is then applied to four horizontal case studies; technical barriers to trade, public procurement, investment and competition policy. These, together with secondary literature describing other case studies, show that rule-making is and has always been a multilevel process. The issue to be addressed in terms of the rule-making aspects of preferential agreements should therefore be what role RTAs and FTAs play in rule-making rather than whether preferential agreements undermine multilateral rules or not. The thesis argues that RTAs had a broadly positive effect during the period from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, but that subsequent developments give rise to a more nuanced assessment. The thesis also makes a comparison of two dominant European Union and US approaches to regional and bilateral agreements. This shows the US approach to be more uniform and more assertive compared to the EU approach to negotiating FTAs. The thesis concludes with a discussion of how criteria developed from the analytical framework could be used as the basis for qualitative assessments of the role and impact of the rule-making aspects of regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2955

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