The main thesis of this dissertation is stalemates at the multilateral trade negotiations and domestic institutions affect the probability of signing asymmetric (North-South) Preferential Trade Agreements between Latin American and OECD countries. I use theoretical debates of regional integration to build on that literature a new approach to analyze these new agreements. Even though many of the cases analyzed in this dissertation violate the key assumption about geographical proximity of this literature, still it is a useful point of departure for this research as both types of integration do not follow a completely different logic. ❧ More specifically, I argue that there are two intertwined dynamics that explain why some Latin American countries have joined asymmetric preferential trade agreements. First, I analyze an international-regional dimension arguing that the interaction between stalemates at the WTO and increasing regional asymmetric PTA density are the main reasons to explain why this type of agreements has been signed in Latin America. Second, I turn to study an institutional-domestic dimension in which I explore the role of the main veto players in Latin America in order to understand their influence in these asymmetric negotiations. I argue that in Latin America strong presidents undermined the veto power of other institutional actors but, being restrained by opposite social sectors to the asymmetric PTAs, particularly the ones that were strong and cohesive. These claims are supported by the evidence collected in three case studies about the U.S.-Costa Rica, U.S.-Ecuador and U.S. Peru negotiations for a preferential trade agreement and also tested in quantitative terms.
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