The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Incorporating intermediate inputs into a small-union general-equilibrium model, this paper first develops the welfare economics of preferential trading under the rules of origin (ROO) and then demonstrates that the ROO could improve the political viability of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Two interesting outcomes are derived. First, a welfare reducing FTA that was rejected in the absence of the ROO becomes feasible in the presence of these rules. Second, a welfare improving FTA that was rejected in the absence of the ROO is endorsed in their presence, but upon endorsement it becomes welfare inferior relative to the status quo.