Multilateral Rules for Regional Trade Agreements: Past, Present and Future
EMERGING TRADE ISSUES FOR POLICYMAKERS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC, pp. 216-235, United Nations ESCAP, 2008
23 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2009
Date Written: 2008
This chapter explores how the former (GATT) and current (WTO) multilateral trading system have been handling the rules on RTAs over time and with the change of the multilateral liberalization agendas, and how the monitoring and evaluation set by those rules have been working. The chapter is structured as follows. Section A reviews the ideas of reciprocity and non-discrimination as the two fundamental principles of MTS. Section B explores the rules on RTAs that were originally set and that evolved in the pre-WTO period. The implementation of those rules is also reviewed through available data. Section C covers the period of the Doha Development Agenda as well as the intended and achieved negotiations on rules on RTAs based on Doha declaration. The new Transparency Mechanism on RTAs, one of the rare tangible outputs of the Round so far, is analysed in detail in terms of its characteristics and experience with its application is summarized ahead of the formal review due in the WTO in October 2008. Section D looks into the situation in the Asian and the Pacific region with regard to notification and the WTO consideration process. Section E looks into reasons for reliance on RTAs and recommends persisting with the achieved improvements through the Transparency Mechanism even if the Doha Round remains in a longer or permanent impasse.
Keywords: RTA rules, GATT, WTO, Transparency Mechanism
JEL Classification: F13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation