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Fear of Flying: Aviation Protectionism and Global Growth

Courtesy Reuters

Reduction of trade barriers has led to global economic growth, but tight restrictions and regulations on how people and goods reach markets still hamper the expansion of international commerce. Nowhere are the obstacles greater than in the skies above. Forty percent of the world's trade, by value, now travels by air. Forty percent of those crossing national borders arrive by air, with the percentage much higher in advanced growth regions. International travel accounts for half of all revenue passenger miles. Over the next decade, most estimates suggest, the travel industry will double its already sizable contribution to worldwide economic growth.

With the increasing importance of efficiently and economically transporting people and goods by air, an overarching international regime to govern air transportation -- akin to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its role in trade in goods and services -- could bring enormous benefits. But no such regime exists. In

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