Since the end of World War II, the freeing of trade has been most visible in reciprocal liberalization agreements negotiated under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, and through increasing bilateral and plurilateral agreements. There has also, however, been a significant, if less visible, unilateral freeing of trade by several nations.
This book, based on a research project directed by Jagdish Bhagwati, examines the experiences with such unilateral trade liberalization. Part 1 considers historical experiences, following Britain’s unilateral embrace of free trade. Part 2 discusses recent examples, and Part 3 discusses unilateral liberalization in specific sectors. The substantive introduction provides a synthesis of the findings as well as theoretical support. It argues that although unilateral freeing of trade is generally less beneficial than reciprocity, it can trigger "sequential" reciprocity through example or by encouraging lobbies abroad to favor trade expansion.
About the Editor
Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor at Columbia University and External Advisor to the Director General, World Trade Organization and Senior Fellow for International Economics with the Council on Foreign Relations. He was named Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association in 2003.
Robert W. Staiger, Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin
K. C. Fung, Professor, Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz
T. N. Srinivasan, Samuel Park Jr. Professor of Economics, Yale University