NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Free Trade Agreements versus Customs Unions

Anne O. Krueger

NBER Working Paper No. 5084
Issued in April 1995
NBER Program(s):   IFM   ITI

Until NAFTA, analyses of preferential trading arrangements began by assuming a customs union with a common external tariff, and the differences between customs unions and free trade agreements (FTAs) have been little analyzed. This paper points to some of the differences between FTAs and customs unions, and shows that on welfare grounds a customs union is always Pareto-superior to an FTA. Moreover, the political economy of FTAs will lead to more opposition to further multilateral trade liberalization than will customs unions.

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Published: Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 54, no. 1 (October 1997): 169-187.

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