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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The gradual reduction of traditional barriers to trade such as tariffs and quotas implies that the agenda for international cooperation on trade has changed. The focus of international firms increasingly is on the trade and transaction costs effects of differences in national regulatory standards and regulatory regimes. Such differences are also a matter of concern to consumers, who worry about the health consequences and safety of products produced as part of global supply chains. This chapter discusses the challenge of managing the interface between the market access objectives of trade agreements—that is, the reduction of trade frictions—while not undercutting national regulatory objectives and preferences. It develops a typology of approaches that can be used to reduce the negative trade spillovers created by regulatory differences across countries and discusses how trade agreements can help do so, drawing on the experience of efforts by the EU and other OECD nations to negotiate deeper integration agreements.

Keywords: international cooperation, regulation, standards, trade agreements, WTO, transparency, globalization, integration, economic development

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