Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Partial and General Equilibrium Effects of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement

El-Sahli, Zouheir (2021): The Partial and General Equilibrium Effects of the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement. Forthcoming in: The International Trade Journal

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Abstract

Regional trade agreements among developing countries are understudied in the literature. The Greater-Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) is one such agreement among the Arab countries. The few existing studies on GAFTA suffer from many shortcomings that we address in this study. We incorporate the latest advances in the literature to investigate the partial and general equilibrium effects of GAFTA. The partial equilibrium estimates suggest that GAFTA had a positive and significant effect on bilateral trade of around 40% in 1998 and 61% seven years later after the phasing out of tariffs. The general equilibrium analysis suggests that the welfare effects of the agreement are very small and mostly negligible in the member states. The results highlight that deeper integration among the Arab countries is imperative to bring about further welfare benefits to the member states. This result can be generalized to recommend deeper regional trade agreements among developing countries to capitalize on the benefits of free trade.

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