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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Deep integration is the hallmark of the modern regional trade agreement (RTA). RTAs with deep integration provisions seek to strengthen the contestability of markets for firms in partner economies through three main functions: protection of foreign firms and their interests; liberalization of “behind-the-border” trade barriers; and harmonization of domestic trade rules to enhance the efficiency of international production. This chapter delineates the main lines of research on the causes and consequences of deep integration commitments in RTAs and identifies avenues for future research, focusing on the importance of trade within global and regional production networks and the role of multinational firms as political actors in host countries. The chapter also calls for future work to address the problem of identifying the “baseline” in assessing the strength of deep integration commitments and the likelihood of regulatory disarray due to the diversity of deep integration models encoded in RTAs.

Keywords: regional trade agreements, deep integration, “behind-the-border” trade barriers, production networks multinational firms, regulatory disarray

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