EFTA’s Experience with Non-tariff Barriers
It is perhaps in the field of non-tariff barriers that EFTA has made its greatest contribution, not only to the methodology of economic integration, but also to the techniques of multilateral trade cooperation. The reason for this double contribution to the orderly conduct of inter-state relations is that EFTA achieved a very high level of effective economic integration without altering the normal basis of inter-governmental relationships, based, in positive international law, on sovereignty and implicit or explicit consent. Indeed, it is not too much to say that EFTA and, for that matter, the EEC probably reached the highest degree of consciously pursued economic integration that the world has yet seen outside the economic integration achieved within the sovereign, unified nation-state during the industrial revolution and in the course of the nineteenth century. If the trend towards further trade liberalization persists, however, this degree of economic integration may be approached, if not reached or surpassed, by the end of the century, on a multilateral (and not strictly regional) basis. Therefore, what happened in EFTA in the 1960s is a fair indication of what may happen in the world at large from now to the end of the century, at least in the field of non-tariff barriers to trade,1 provided multilateral trade liberalization proceeds at a steady pace.
KeywordsMember State Free Trade Economic Integration Public Procurement Stockholm Convention
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- 1.The literature on non-tariff barriers generally post-dates the Kennedy Round, which ended in 1967, and is now relatively abundant. General works include: Robert E. Baldwin, Non-tariff Distortions of International Trade (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1970); Gerard and Victoria Curzon, Hidden Barriers to International Trade, Thames Essay No. 1 (1970) and Global Assault on Non-tariff Trade Barriers, Thames Essay No. 3 (London: Trade Policy Research Centre, 1972); Ingo Walter, “Non-tariff Barriers and the Free Trade Area Option”, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Rome, March 1969, pp. 16–45; and Non-tariff Obstacles to Trade (Paris: International Chamber of Commerce, 1969).Google Scholar
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