Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Le Pacifique insulaire dans le cadre d'échange multilatéral : quel accord de libre-échange pour les territoires français du Pacifique ?

Ellero, Jeremy and Lagadec, Gael (2014): Le Pacifique insulaire dans le cadre d'échange multilatéral : quel accord de libre-échange pour les territoires français du Pacifique ?

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Abstract

When the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was created in 1947, the aim was to build a negotiation structure to regulate the liberalisation of trade and remedy protectionist measures. Fifty years on from its creation, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) includes 159 countries, has accompanied developments in free trade and remains the reference forum for settling trade disputes. However, the failure of the Doha Round in 2008 highlighted the failings of the decision-making mechanism and its inability to span all the different areas of trade. The Multilateral Trading System (MTS) is undergoing profound change and seems to be seeing a regional fragmentation of its spheres of influence. In this context, the initiative of the PICTA and PACER agreements would appear to be the first step towards the construction of a regional single market in the Pacific. Oceania represents a market of seven million consumers scattered over one-third of the surface area of the globe. Against a backdrop of gradual political emancipation, New Caledonia and French Polynesia must now re-examine the prospects for regional cooperation. However, the institution of a free trade zone via adoption of the PICTA and PACER agreements raises questions as to the very economic foundations of the French territories. Geographical isolation, lack of commercial openings and the heterogeneous nature of the Pacific Island economies have a direct influence on commercial policies. Given the nature of trade between the Pacific islands, any genuine stimulation would appear to be out of the question. The real stakes in trade integration in the Pacific would seem to lie in trade in services and the free movement of workers. While more than 40% of global trade is governed by around 170 bilateral and regional trade agreements, the development of the Pacific Island economies seems to be fundamentally compatible only with the establishment of a bespoke regional union.

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