Why Are Regional Trade Agreements Important

Trade agreements open many doors. With access to new markets, competition intensifies. Increasing competition is forcing companies to produce better quality products. It also leads to greater diversity for consumers. If there are a variety of high quality products, companies can improve customer satisfaction. However, while wto rules such as competition, the environment, labour, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and gender are not yet available, the potential for different rules for different trade relationships is rather a danger. However, even on these issues, for practical reasons, the parties to the ATR are more likely to be implemented by the parties to the ATR on a non-discriminatory basis. Other provisions, such as membership clauses, allow third parties to join the existing ATR. The CPTPP is, for example, an extension of an existing RTA (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership) between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Similarly, ATRs, which allow a certain percentage of a product to contain inputs from third parties, while being eligible for preferential treatment, allow producers to maintain their existing production lines. With regard to the second issue mentioned above, it poses a particular challenge for developing countries, many of which are outside the RTA networks and production and value chains. Efforts to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which brings together 49 African countries and aim to liberalize trade barriers in the goods and services sector, are an important exception.

Although it has only been ratified by 13 countries to date, it has the potential to significantly reduce trade barriers, particularly those relating to intra-African trade. Under the GED project, we believe that regional trade agreements may have a positive impact on countries outside the agreement`s jurisdiction. Based on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as a case study, we have developed “5 Steps to Inclusive TTIP for All!”, in which we explain how to use TTIP as a model for spreading the benefits beyond the borders of the signatories to an agreement. “As a result, these agreements are increasingly defining new rules that govern trade between their parties and are not extended to all other WTO members. In addition, some of these issues are not regulated by the WTO in international trade. The inclusion of these provisions indicates that there is a growing divergence between existing WTO and ATR rules. This is another challenge for the multilateral trading system, firstly because it makes WTO rules less relevant to some trading partners and, second, because WTO members who are not part of the RTA network are increasingly excluded from these rules. With regard to the first challenge, recent investigations by the WTO secretariat indicate that the divergence of some provisions may be less pronounced, given that ATRs generally tend to repeat WTO rules.