PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to provide a new framework for the (re)assessment of North-South relations, with a specific focus on North-South preferential trade agreements (PTAs); advance a new mechanism of how first-order, i.e., Southern countries’ first, North-South PTAs can affect the outcomes of second-order, i.e., Southern countries’ subsequent, North-South PTA negotiations; and reexamine the effects of North-South power asymmetries on the outcomes of North-South PTA negotiations. Design/methodology/approachThe paper focuses on how North-South power asymmetries affect the outcomes of North-South PTA negotiations. It introduces the concept of “first-order” and “second-order” North-South PTAs, to show that the “order” of an agreement can be a crucial factor in PTA negotiations. The claims of the paper are also supported by primary data obtained through the author’s personal interviews with EU and US trade officials and policy-makers. FindingsThe paper advances a new theoretical framework that takes a longer-term view on North-South trade relations, whereby against the backdrop of the proliferating PTAs, first-order North-South agreements can raise the bargaining powers of Southern countries during subsequent North-South PTA negotiations, with strong implication for both developed and developing countries. Research limitations/implicationsThe paper is largely theoretical. A systematic empirical study of North-South PTAs will be required to validate or refute the theoretical framework advanced in this paper. In addition, evidence obtained through interviews with trade officials and policy-makers can sometimes be descriptive and not necessarily imply causation. Originality/valueThe paper introduces a new variable, namely the “order” of an agreement, which affects the logic of North-South PTA negotiations. Hence, the paper sets out a new theoretical framework that allows for a more accurate assessment of North-South power asymmetries and their effects on the outcomes of North-South PTA negotiations.
Journal of International Trade Law and Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 21, 2016
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