Data for: International Trade Liberalisation and the Limits of Resource Nationalism in Rentier States: A Cross-National Analysis of US Free Trade Agreements in the GCC

Published: 20-09-2019| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/fznwpt57dw.1
Hasan T Alhasan


This paper addresses the relationship between trade liberalisation and resource nationalism in rentier states. Because of their typically clientelist institutions, rentier states are often considered in academic literature as most-likely candidates for resource nationalism. Yet, between 2003-7, two Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states namely Bahrain and Oman concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US despite their liberalising effect on the oil and gas sectors. This paper examines why unlike the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Oman were unconstrained by resource nationalism and identifies the factors that led them to negotiate FTAs in the first place. Using typologies and process tracing of FTA negotiations in Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE, this paper finds that bargaining power measured in aggregate oil and gas reserves and resource abundance measured in per capita oil and gas exports jointly determined negotiating outcomes. While Bahrain and Oman negotiated US FTAs to support textile industries and protect jobs, their relatively modest levels of oil production diminished their bargaining power and propensity for resource nationalism. The opposite is true for the rest of the GCC states that faced less employment pressures or possessed large oil and gas reserves, control of which they were unwilling to cede. The present dataset pertains to the GCC states' exports to the US during the period between 2003-7. The data was mostly obtained from the US International Trade Commission, the World Bank, OPEC, and the individual GCC states' data portals. The data was used to calculate the GCC states' export dependence and export concentration as well as to identify top export commodities including those that benefited from GSP exemptions in the US.