The Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations: Industrial and Geographic Effects in the United States

by Norman S. Fieleke
July/August 1995

No other international trade negotiations have been so comprehensive as the Uruguay Round, in which participants agreed to liberalize trade in agricultural products, to reduce tariffs on industrial products by an average of more than one-third, and to establish a World Trade Organization. This article examines the effects of the Uruguay Round agreements to liberalize trade in goods, focusing primarily on the United States. The analysis suggests that the agreements will have only a negligible impact upon employment in nearly every U.S. manufacturing sector, in every state, and in the country as a whole. The agreed trade liberalizations (as represented by the sectoral employment changes likely to result) seem to bear little relationship to the nation's revealed comparative advantages (weighted by employment). By and large, both the United States and its trading partners apparently resisted granting sizable trade liberalizations in sectors where the other possessed a marked comparative advantage. If so, both parties will be impeded from further specializing in the sectors of their greatest comparative advantage, and world income will grow by less than if both had been more forthcoming.

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