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Catching Up with the Competition

Trade Opportunities and Challenges for Arab Countries

Bernard Hoekman and Jamel Zarrouk, Editors

Publication Year: 2000

At a time when countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are joining the World Trade Organization, the lack of an economically sound analysis of trade policies in the region is especially notable. This volume remedies the situation by bringing together a distinguished group of applied trade economists to provide a broad view of the state of trade in and among the region's nations. The contributors provide original empirical analyses on key reform issues, and their work reflects deep knowledge of government concerns and policies. Part 1 sets the scene by comparing the performance of the MENA region with the rest of the world on a large number variables and indicators. Part 2 contains a number of CGE model-based analyses of trade policy reform options. Part 3 focuses on specific policy areas: standards as nontariff barriers and red tape, trade facilitation, an assessment of the impact of protecting intellectual property using partial equilibrium techniques, and a review of the existing Euro-Med agreements. Part 4 discusses how the region could benefit from WTO membership and from changing the existing regional integration schemes into arrangements that help promote a growth enhancing reform agenda. The volume will be essential reading for economists and policymakers working in and with the MENA nations, as well as officials at the multilateral and regional institutions. Contributors are A. Halis Akder, Benita Cox, Dean De Rosa, Hana'a Kheir El Din, Sherine El Ghoneim, Oleh Havrylyshyn, Bernard Hoekman, Denise Konan, Peter Kunzel, Will Martin, Keith Maskus, Mustapha Nabli, Thomas Rutherford, Elisabet Rutstrom, David Tarr, Subidey Togan, L. Alan Winters, Alexander Yeats, and Jamel Zarrouk. Bernard Hoekman is an Economist with the Development Research Group's Trade team of the World Bank. Jamel Zarrouk is an Economist with the Arab Monetary Fund.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Studies in International Economics


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p. vii

The Middle East and North Africa region has been lagging behind much of the developing world in integrating into the world economy, as measured by the ratio of trade to GDP, growth of nontraditional exports, the share of intraindustry trade, and inward foreign direct investment flows. The papers...

Tables, Figures, and Boxes

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pp. ix-xii

Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. 1-6

Many developing countries have taken up the challenge of using international trade as an engine of economic growth and development by launching an unparalleled wave of trade reforms. The prevalence of traditional nontariff barriers (NTBs) such as import prohibitions and quotas has been greatly...

Part One: Where Does the Region Stand?

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1. Beyond the Year 2000: Implications of the Middle East's Recent Trade Performance

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pp. 9-44

Major changes that have occurred recently in external markets have important implications for Middle Eastern countries' export prospects. l The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) liberalized barriers to the intratrade of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, while further integration efforts continued in Europe. Regional integration arrangements (RlAs) strengthened ...

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2. Agricultural Trade and Rural Development in the Middle East and North Africa

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pp. 45-79

Situated at important crossroads between Africa, Asia, and Europe, the countries of the MENA region form one of the largest groups of developing countries in the world economy.l In addition, with the initiation in recent years of a peace process between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the region has...

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3. Intra-Industry Trade of Arab Countries: An Indicator of Potential Competitiveness

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pp. 81-99

The recent signing and ongoing discussions of bilateral agreements to liberalize trade between the EU and several Arab countries raise the question as to how the latter will fare in a more competitive environment.l Most Arab countries have traditionally been dependent on their natural resources. As a consequence, they...

Part Two: Quantifying the Gains from Liberalization

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4. Assessing the Implications for Lebanon of Free Trade with the European Union

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pp. 103-144

A key component of the proposed EMA between Lebanon and the EU is liberalization of their bilateral trade. This liberalization parallels the proposals for liberalization between the EU and other Mediterranean countries (Hoekman and Djankov 1996b). Completion of all of these agreements would lead to a "hub...

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5. A Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and a Representative Arab Mediterranean Country: A Quantitative Assessment

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pp. 145-170

During the 1980s, the foreign trade policies of many Arab Mediterranean countries began to move from inward-looking import substitution toward outward-looking export promotion. As of the mid-1990s, average collected tariff rates in countries such as Tunisia had fallen to about 10 percent in...

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6. Rents, Red Tape, and Regionalism: Economic Effects of Deeper Integration

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pp. 171-203

Most of the literature on the economics of preferential trade agreements (PT As) focuses on the impact of discriminatory liberalization on members of such agreements. Recently, analysts have begun to emphasize the role of PT As as instruments that can be used by governments in the pursuit of "deep...

Part Three: Policy Challenges

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7. Enhancing Egypt's Exports

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pp. 207-225

The Government of Egypt (GOE) has set a target for GDP growth at an annual rate of 7 to 8 percent by the year 2000. An important part of the strategy for achieving this goal is policy reform aimed at enhancing export performance and attracting increased investment. Egypt currently has a unique opportunity...

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8. Regulatory Regimes and Trade Costs

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pp. 227-250

The interface between regulatory policy and trade has received increased attention in recent years. As countries reduce traditional trade barriers such as tariffs and QRs, business and consumers become more aware of the impact of domestic regulatory regimes on trade. These often take the form of mandatory...

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9. Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights in Lebanon

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pp. 251-281

An issue of great concern to decision makers in many developing countries is the impact of strengthening protection of intellectual property rights (lPRs). In this chapter, simple partial equilibrium models are used to analyze and discuss the likely economic impacts of introducing stronger IPR protection in...

Part Four: Institutional Options

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10. The Greater Arab Free Trade Area: Limits and Possibilities

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pp. 285-305

The Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFT A), launched by the member states of the Arab League on January 1, 1998, is a recent example of renewed attempts at regional integration in the MENA region.1 The objective of the GAFT A is the elimination of import duties and other barriers to trade on goods...

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11. Benefiting from WTO Accession and Membership

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pp. 306-324

Almost all countries in the MENA region have been refonning their foreign trade and domestic investment regimes to make the policy environment more conducive to fuller integration into the world economy. Despite these efforts, the extent of integration remains relatively low. One dimension of this lag is reflected in the limited extent...


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pp. 325-326


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pp. 327-340

E-ISBN-13: 9780472026463
E-ISBN-10: 0472026461
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472111541
Print-ISBN-10: 047211154X

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 17 line drawings, 76 tables, 6 boxes
Publication Year: 2000

Series Title: Studies in International Economics
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OCLC Number: 646068704
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Catching Up with the Competition

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Arab countries -- Commercial policy.
  • Free trade -- Arab countries.
  • International trade.
  • Competition, International.
  • Arab countries -- Commerce.
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