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.
Current U.S. trade policy stresses establishing free trade areas (FTAs) with partners spanning the globe. Motivations include enhancing goods and services trade; stimulating investment flows; extending standards on intellectual property rights, labor, and the environment; and addressing geopolitical concerns. Simulations of FTAs with the United States highlight the importance of trade complementarity, trade diversion, and welfare losses for nonmembers. Agriculture and textiles play a central role in determining welfare outcomes. Initial improvement in market access enjoyed by participants could be eroded progressively as global liberalization proceeds, and this preference erosion might act as a disincentive to participate in multilateral liberalization.