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Trade and Globalization

An Introduction to Regional Trade Agreements

David A. Lynch

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Regional trade agreements (RTAs) are not new, but their importance in global economics and politics has grown exponentially in the past two decades. At the same time, RTAs have become increasingly controversial as their number, scope, and cross-cutting memberships become so complex that many fear they will undermine the World Trade Organization's multilateral trading system. Ranging from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to the European Union to the North American Free Trade Agreement, RTAs have equally wide-ranging purposes, from improving market access to increasing clout in international negotiations.

Tackling this complexity and confusion head on, this book provides a much-needed guide to RTAs. Setting current regional agreements in their economic, political, and historical context, David A. Lynch describes and compares virtually every significant RTA, region by region. He clearly explains their intricate inner workings, their webs of collaboration and conflict, and their primary goals and effectiveness.

Lynch's deeply knowledgeable study bridges the ideological divides in scholarly and public debate, including economists' emphases on markets and efficiency versus antiglobalization activists' concerns over inequality and social ills. By building a middle ground between micro and macro analysis and clarifying technical terminology, this concise and accessible book will be an invaluable reference for all nonspecialists.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 346Size: 6 1/4 x 9
978-0-7425-6688-0 • Hardback • September 2010 • $114.00 • (£75.00) - Currently out of stock. Copies will arrive soon.
978-0-7425-6689-7 • Paperback • August 2010 • $58.00 • (£39.95)
978-0-7425-6690-3 • eBook • August 2010 • $55.00 • (£37.95)
David A. Lynch is chair and professor, Department of Social Science, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Regional Trade Agreements: Making Sense of the RTA Spaghetti Bowl
Chapter 2: Africa
Chapter 3: The Americas
Chapter 4: Asia
Chapter 5: Europe
Chapter 6: Russia and the Former Soviet Republics
Chapter 7: The Middle East and North Africa
Chapter 8: The Pacific Islands
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Appendix A: The World Trade Organization
Appendix B: European Union Preferential Access Agreements
Appendix C: US Free Trade Agreements and Pending Free Trade Agreements
List of Abbreviations
The increase in the number as well as size of regional trade agreements (RTAs) in recent years has resulted in the proliferation of literature on the subject. However, much of that outpouring has dealt with a single RTA or some subset of the aggregate. Thus this volume, which offers a broad perspective, is a useful resource. Lynch identifies the large number of RTAs and provides information on their membership and other descriptive characteristics. In addition, he notes the influence of each with respect to regional or world trade. An introductory chapter discusses the overall importance of RTAs, their purposes, and criticisms brought against them. The introduction also includes an overview of trade agreement types as well as variations among RTAs. This is followed by seven chapters, each devoted to RTAs in a different region, and a concluding chapter. Several appendixes elaborate on selected trade agreements, e.g., the World Trade Organization. The book contains a list of abbreviations, glossary, and source notes. A supplementary Web site expands and updates information and offers links to RTAs and globalization resources. The text is understandable, quite free of jargon, and enhanced by boxes, figures, and tables. A useful introduction or reference. Summing Up: Recommended. All collections and readership levels.

Lynch deftly untangles the spaghetti bowl of RTAs, providing a detailed understanding of the dynamics of trade agreements. This rich compendium on trade integration underscores the importance of regionalism in our globalized economy.
Patrice Franko, Colby College

The sheer number of regional trade agreements worldwide is redefining the old order of global trade governance. This excellent and comprehensive book provides both experts and students with a new understanding of their complexity, dynamics, costs, and opportunities. Perhaps more important, Lynch dispels many of the myths and misunderstandings about the next phase of global multilateralism and new state practices. Surely an impressive achievement by any standard.
Daniel Drache, York University

Explains technical economics terms to general readers

Provides a detailed online mapping of RTAs

Puts RTAs in their historical context

Compares RTAs with one another, for better understanding of their variation

Places RTAs into the context of international political economy theory

Considers RTAs in the context of the WTO, including the on-going Doha Development Round

Serves as an accessible reference for RTAs worldwide