Going Alone: The Case for Relaxed Reciprocity in Freeing Trade


Going Alone: The Case for Relaxed Reciprocity in Freeing Trade


Publication Date



An analytic and empirical study of unilateral trade liberalization agreements, from the nineteenth century to the present.

Since the end of World War II, the freeing of trade has been most visible in reciprocal liberalization agreements negotiated under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, and through increasing bilateral and plurilateral agreements. There has also, however, been a significant, if less visible, unilateral freeing of trade by several nations.

This book, based on a research project directed by Jagdish Bhagwati, examines the experiences with such unilateral trade liberalization. Part 1 considers historical experiences, following Britain's unilateral embrace of free trade. Part 2 discusses recent examples, and Part 3 discusses unilateral liberalization in specific sectors. The substantive introduction provides a synthesis of the findings as well as theoretical support. It argues that although unilateral freeing of trade is generally less beneficial than reciprocity, it can trigger "sequential" reciprocity through example or by encouraging lobbies abroad to favor trade expansion.


Antitrust and Trade Regulation | Economics | International Economics | International Trade Law | Law | Social and Behavioral Sciences




MIT Press


Cambridge, MA


“I know of no other volume that examines this important topic in such a careful and scholarly manner. The work is extremely original and the analysis is very rigorous.”
K. C. Fung, Professor, Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz

“The essays in this volume present some of the most recent thinking and evidence on the role of reciprocity in freeing trade. I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in this important and controversial subject.”
Robert W. Staiger, Professor of Economics, The University of Wisconsin

“This is a path-breaking work on the common practice of freeing trade unilaterally. Bhagwati and his team comprehensively analyze the relative merits of unilateralism and reciprocity. All future studies of either issue will have to start from where this work leaves it. Bhagwati, who has been the original source of most important developments in the theory of commercial policy, has once again produced a seminal and definitive work.”
T. N. Srinivasan, Samuel Park Jr. Professor of Economics, Yale University

“This volume, which collects papers on the role and experiences of unilateral tariff reductions in the multilateral trading system, provides an extremely informative account of the history and the more recent country and industry experiences. Bhagwati is one of the world's most eloquent and knowledgeable experts on trade.”
Henrik Horn, Professor, Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University


Also available as an eBook through the Columbia University Libraries.

Going Alone: The Case for Relaxed Reciprocity in Freeing Trade

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