This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of what preferential trading arrangements (PTAs) are and why they are important. It covers the economic effects of PTAs, political and security effects of PTAs, PTAs in historical perspective, and the effects of domestic politics on PTAs. It then sets out the book's central argument, that trade agreements are often motivated by domestic political conditions. The book seeks to explain why leaders choose to enter these agreements. The next section discusses how the present analysis of the domestic sources of PTA formation bears on a host of important theoretical issues in the fields of international relations and political economy. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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