Liberalization without integration
The 1990s saw significant trade liberalization occur on a unilateral, multilateral and preferential basis. The latter was particularly central to Egypt’s path towards integration into the global economy. Despite the large number of PTAs to which Egypt became party, the country’s path towards integration into global trade proved rather poor. Why did Egypt end up with so many preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and why have they not produced the desired effects, i.e. allowing greater access to foreign markets and the upgrading of Egypt’s exports? This chapter argues that Egypt could use its geopolitical weight so as to subject the scope, scale and pace of liberalization under PTAs in order to avoid or at least lower the adjustment costs to be incurred by domestic economic activities. This often meant some feigned liberalization and continued protection for domestic producers, albeit increasingly on non-tariff basis.