Thierry Mayer, Hillel Rapoport & Camilo Umana Dajud , 2021.
"Free Trade Agreements and the Movement of Business People,"
CEPII Working Paper 2021- 10 , December 2021 , CEPII.

Many of the measures to contain Covid-19 severely reduced business travel. Using provisions to ease the movement of business visitors in trade agreements, we show that removing barriers to the movement of business people promotes trade. To do this, we first document the increasing complexity of Free Trade Agreements. We then develop an algorithm that combines machine learning and text analysis techniques to examine the content of FTAs. We use the algorithm to determine which FTAs include provisions to facilitate the movement of business people and whether those provisions are included in dispute settlement mechanisms. Using these data and accounting for the overall depth of FTAs, we show that provisions facilitating business travel indeed facilitate business travel (but not permanent migration) and, eventually, increase bilateral trade flows.

Covid-19 ; Business travel ; Free Trade Agreements ; Machine Learning ; Text Analysis