Economic Ideas and North-South Preferential Trade Agreements in the Americas


  • Nicolás Pose Universidad de la República


North-South Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) are an intensified version of the Uruguay round’s bargain, in which developing countries gain access to developed countries’ markets, expecting increase in inflows of foreign direct investment, but see their ‘policy space’ reduced (Shadlen, 2005). Focusing on United States’ PTAs in the Latin American region, this article seeks to answer why some Latin American countries found this bargain attractive while others did not. I argue that modern PTAs generate uncertainty over their costs and benefits, because there are not standardized tools to estimate the impact of the ‘trade-related’ provisions they include. As a result, policymakers turn to their general ideas about economic development, which assign different meanings to them, producing differing decisions. Empirically, it is shown that the argument complements previous explanations based on structural and societal variables.


Preferential trade agreements, economic ideas, uncertainty, North-South relations, Latin America

Author Biography

Nicolás Pose, Universidad de la República

Assistant professor at the Programme of International Studies and the Department of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Universidad de la República (Uruguay).  Master in International Political Economy, The London School of Economics and Political Science.


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