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Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) proliferate in the developed and developing world. However, there is wide variation in both the institutional structure of these RTAs and the degree to which they achieve their goals. Particularly in the developing world, RTA dispute-settlement mechanisms are formed but rarely employed; ambitious tariff cuts are announced but never implemented; and promised trade flows do not quite materialize. Yet the study of these agreements has been mostly limited to their trade-enhancing effects.
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