What Does The Spaghetti Bowl Of Regional Trade Agreements Mean For The Notion Of Free Trade

As with the net economic effects of trade creation and reorientation, the impact of regionalism on the multilateral trading system depends in part on the specifics of each ATR and the economic and political impact of the resulting trade policy changes in this area. In addition, two other arguments call for THE ATTs to be seen as support for the multilateral system or, at the very least, for global trade integration. First, regional negotiations have, in important cases, resulted in “episodes of competition liberalization” in which excluded parties conduct multilateral negotiations to compensate for the discriminatory effects of the ATR. The final argument in favour of ATRs, particularly the “mega-regional” agreements negotiated by President Barack Obama with partners across the Pacific and across the Atlantic, is that they are more likely than the WTO to make progress on “deep integration” issues that should be at the heart of 21st century trade policy. The emergence of the spaghetti shell phenomenon in the sense of Bhagwati is inevitable when a free trade agreement is concluded. On the other hand, the phenomenon of spaghetti bowls made in Japan, which is of concern to many Japanese, is either a problem that cannot be compared to a spaghetti shell (rules of origin), or a problem that should be dealt with separately from free trade agreements. These two types of problems have one thing in common, insofar as both companies and administrative authorities impede understanding of systems. But they`re very different. Some people might say that it is normal to call them the spaghetti made-in-Japan phenomenon, because it is true that both pose problems and beyond, because the use of the term makes it easier to understand. But pooling two totally different problems would lead to a misperception that a single recipe would cure them. It is time that we stop using the term “spaghetti-bowl phenomenon” in the Japanese context.

Although it is not at the centre of this chapter, it is worth considering two other types of “multilateral” agreements that attract attention. These would be possible alternatives to multilateral negotiations subject to the WTO consensus rule, which allows any member to block an agreement, or to bilateral and regional agreements outside the WTO. The study of these options has intensified since the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, launched in 2001, fell into its current zombie state – not alive, but not completely dead and buried. Countries with greater obligations than TRIPS have two options. One option is to implement laws and regulations that guarantee greater protection of intellectual property limits exclusively for nationals and products of certain counterparties in the distribution area. The other is to apply greater protection of intellectual property authorities not only to nationals and the products of certain counterparties in the free trade agreement, but also to all others, regardless of nationality or country of origin. If a country finds the crossroads of laws and regulations too complex and problematic, it can simply opt for the second choice. Or, if he finds the complexity manageable, he can choose the first one. That`s all, and nothing less or more.

What is supposed to be a problem with the phenomenon of Japanese-made spaghetti shells is reasonably avoidable by changing the way such an agreement is implemented on national territory. In other words, this problem is not due to the content of the free trade agreements or the way in which the provisions are established there. Rather, the problem is how free trade agreements are implemented by the various countries involved. The same goes for other trade rules, including anti-dumping rules. As noted above, the terms of Article XXIV are intended to promote free trade unions and agreements that create more trade than they divert from them. If such objectives are achieved, economists generally conclude that these agreements could improve the well-being of participating countries, with limited damage to third parties, and