Limits to Free Trade
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Limits to Free Trade

Non-Tariff Barriers in the European Union, Japan and United States

David Hanson

This book explores the growing list of non-tariff trade barriers raised by the US, EU and Japan and assesses the prospects for significant trade liberalization. The author examines the liability of global free trade through a review of the complaints that these three countries raised about each other over a five-year period. He concludes that free trade may be increasingly hampered as barriers are created more rapidly than can be resolved, and that the prospects for significantly strengthening safeguards are limited.
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Chapter 9: A Comparative Perspective

David Hanson


INTRODUCTION There are four major purposes behind this exercise. The first is to assess whether the avenues of free trade are being clogged by a mounting pile of non-tariff trade barriers. The second goal is to say something interesting about the similarities and differences in the non-tariff trade barriers attributed to the three countries. The third goal is to think about how the legal and institutional machineries supporting free trade could be strengthened, if it is necessary. Finally, we want to see whether there are any plausible relationships between national differences in the political contexts of government decision making and the patterns of trade restraints attributed to each of the three governments. We will be looking first at comparisons among the three states with respect to the complaints raised against them. This may give some clues about national differences in trade policy. The second set of comparisons looks at the complaints raised by each state against the others. Our goal is to look into national differences in patterns of diplomacy. 2. COMPARISONS BY COUNT Three major conclusions jump out from this analysis. First, trade complaints are piling up faster that they can be resolved. This is particularly true for the WTO Dispute Resolution Process. Second, the United States seems to be the odd man out in this process. Substantially more trade complaints are filed by and against that country than against the other two. Third, there does not seem to be any relation between the overall level of protectionism and...

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