Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Mapping the Tariff Waters

Diakantoni, Antonia and Escaith, Hubert (2009): Mapping the Tariff Waters.

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Abstract

Tariff water –the difference between bound and applied duties– provides relevant information on domestic trade policy and WTO trade negotiations. This paper examines the general and sectoral tariff structure of 120 economies, using exploratory data analysis. The analysis identifies the countries having similar overall structures across sectors, then analyses the specific patterns for each particular product sector. Finally, the degree of influence of countries' regional and socio-economic characteristics on their tariff structure is evaluated. A first element of conclusion is that tariff policies seem to protect more the labour intensive sectors, with some variations in the case of agriculture, rather than pursuing traditional protectionist industrial policies through "effective protection". A second element of conclusion is that the distinction between developing and developed countries is broadly relevant to characterize tariff policies, but not overly determinant.

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