Regional trade agreements and export competitiveness: The uncertain path of Nicaragua's apparel exports under CAFTA

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2015-01-01

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© 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved.The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been a mixed blessing for economic development. While exports to the US economy have increased, dependency may hinder economic growth if countries do not diversify or upgrade before temporary provisions expire. This article evaluates the impact of the temporary Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) granted to Nicaragua under CAFTA and the consequences of TPL expiration. Using trade statistics, country- and firm-level data from Nicaragua's National Free Zones Commission (CNZF) and data from field research, we estimate Nicaragua's apparel sector will contract as much as 30-40% after TPLs expire. Our analysis underscores how rules of origin and firm nationality affect where and how companies do business, and in so doing, often constrain sustainable export growth.

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10.1093/cjres/rsv015

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Frederick, S, J Bair and G Gereffi (2015). Regional trade agreements and export competitiveness: The uncertain path of Nicaragua's apparel exports under CAFTA. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(3). pp. 403–420. 10.1093/cjres/rsv015 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10686.

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Gereffi

Gary Gereffi

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Gary Gereffi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Director of the Global Value Chains Center at Duke University (https://gvcc.duke.edu/).  He has published over a dozen books and numerous articles on globalization, industrial upgrading, and social and economic development, and he is one of the originators of the global value chains framework.  His most recent books are:  Handbook on Global Value Chains (co-edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2019); and Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the Contours of 21st Century Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  Current projects include:  (1) the impact of U.S. protectionism on jobs and regional trade agreements; (2) evaluating how the digital economy and Industry 4.0 are likely to affect international business strategies and industrial upgrading; and (3) shifting regional interdependencies in East Asia and North America, with a focus on China, South Korea and Mexico vis-à-vis the United States.


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