Governing trade beyond tariffs: the politics of multinational production and its implications for international cooperation Stanford University
Robert Gulotty  |  August, 2014

While tariffs have been effectively eliminated over the last 50 years, a number of regulatory barriers to commerce persist. This thesis explains this persistence as a consequence of the interests of firms and governments and the limits of existing international institutions. This thesis develops three general findings. First, unlike with tariffs, the elimination of regulatory barriers to trade is not in the competitive interests of the most internationalized firms. Second, governments have an interest in using regulations to attract investment and retain the profits of that investment. Third, the existing institutions that govern trade, while able to resolve tariffs, are ill suited to address the challenges of regulatory protection. These three findings, illustrated with formal and empirical analysis, explain why cooperation in the area of regulatory protection remains difficult.