How Do Free Trade Agreements Reduce Tariff Rates and Non-tariff Barriers?

Discussion Papers


by Kazunobu HAYAKAWA and Fukunari KIMURA

February 2014


This paper empirically investigates how far free trade agreements (FTAs) successfully lower tariff rates and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) for manufacturing industries by employing the bilateral tariff and NTB data in a time series for countries around the world. We find that FTAs under GATT Article XXIV and the Enabling Clause contribute to reducing tariff rates by 2.1% points and 1.5% points, respectively. In the case of NTBs, their respective impacts are 6.6% points and 5.7% points. Membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) does not contribute greatly to reducing tariff rates but does play a significant role in reducing NTBs. These results provide important implications for the literature on numerical assessments of FTAs.

Keywords: non-tariff barriers; free trade agreement
JEL classification: F10; F13; F15

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