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Free Trade Agreements and Customs Unions: Experiences, Challenges and Constraints

Madeleine O. Hosli and Arild Saether (eds)
ISBN 13 978-90-6779-108-3 EIPA Code #: Year: 1997 Pages: 316

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Some free trade agreements and customs unions have existed for many years, whilst others are still being created. This volume compares the various existing arrangements in terms of institutional structure, scope and practical experience. Particular emphasis is placed on older integration systems within Western Europe, such as those in the framework of the European Community (now the European Union) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and developments among the New Independent States (NIS) which have emerged from the former Soviet Union. The volume also contains overviews of the theory of preferential trade agreements, from both an economic and a political perspective, and outlines the institutional structure of other regional agreements, such as the Central European Free Trade Association (CEFTA), the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), describing how these work in practice.
The volume is largely a product of the European Commission's Tacis seminars programme. More specifically, it originates from a series of seminars organized for officials from the NIS in cooperation with the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht, the Netherlands. It provides information and advice for the government representatives of the NIS, for example with respect to the need for regional integration to be compatible with multilateral trade rules, particularly in view of the future possibility of several of the NIS joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). The publication is also of interest to students and academics studying various different regional integration arrangements, how these work in practice and the challenges they currently face.