Tariff Phase-Outs: Theory and Evidence from GATT and NAFTA
NBER Working Paper No. 5421
This paper considers tariff phase-outs in multilateral and preferential agreements. The paper finds that early GATT rounds primarily were over bindings of existing rates and that it was not until the 1962-67 Kennedy Round's 50% reduction in manufactured goods tariffs that time paths of tariff reductions became a substantive part of GATT agreements. Existing empirical work has demonstrated that U.S. industries with high initial tariffs tended to receive long periods for tariff adjustment or tended to be exempted from agreed reductions in both the Kennedy and Tokyo Rounds. This paper demonstrates that high U.S. tariffs and little intra-industry trade are associated with long NAFTA phase-out periods for U.S. imports from Mexico. Mexico's phase-outs are correlated, on the other hand, with those of the United States but not generally with Mexico's tariffs.