Navigating the Free Trade–Fair Trade Fault-Lines
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Navigating the Free Trade–Fair Trade Fault-Lines

Michael J. Trebilcock

Is Free Trade desirable? Does it primarily benefit the wealthy? And what are its impacts on individual autonomy and human dignity? These are some of the fundamental questions that acclaimed trade law expert, Michael Trebilcock, sets out to answer in this pithy and insightful journey through the past, present and future of international trade agreements and trade policy.
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Chapter II: Why trade agreements at all?

Michael J. Trebilcock


Chapter 2 addresses the question of why countries are motivated to enter into trade agreements with other countries with which they may wish to trade, and emphasizes that in the absence of international trade agreements countries will be tempted to adopt beggar thy neighbour policies with actual or potential trading partners, potentially provoking retaliation by these partners and yielding zero-sum outcomes for all the trading partners involved. Trade agreements also provide a mechanism by which countries can manage the domestic politics surrounding trade policy by enlisting export oriented industries as a counterweight to import impacted domestic industries and by mitigating transition costs as resources gravitate from contracting to expanding industries.

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