In the 1990s, the EU and NAFTA appeared to have succeeded in boosting intra-regional trade and investment flows. And contrary to some fears, they have not become closed trading blocs that have increased discrimination against non-members. Their clear success has encouraged other countries to develop their own regional agreements (a development that has been further stimulated by the slow pace of WTO negotiations). The pace of regionalism accelerated considerably after the mid-1990s and spread to regions such as East Asia, which previously had few ASAs. By May 2003, more than 265 TAs had been notified to the WTO (and its predecessor, gatt). More than half of this amount was notified after the creation of the WTO in January 1995. More than 190 of these agreements are currently in force. Since agreements that only link developing countries are not covered by Article XXIV and are sometimes not notified to the WTO, the actual number of ASTRs put into service is much higher – probably more than 250. At the end of 2003, only one of the WTO`s 146 members – Mongolia – was not a party to a regional trade agreement. If you have any questions about the OECD`s trade research and analysis, you can contact us directly. Regional trade agreements (SAAs) have multiplied and expanded over the years, including a notable increase in the large plurilateral agreements under negotiation. Non-discrimination between trading partners is one of the fundamental principles of the WTO; However, SAAs, which are reciprocal preferential agreements between two or more partners, are one of the exceptions and are allowed under the WTO, subject to a number of rules.
Information on SAAs notified to the WTO is available in the RTA database. In total, the United States currently has 14 trade agreements with 20 different countries. The failure of Doha has allowed China to establish itself in world trade. He has signed bilateral trade agreements with dozens of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Chinese companies have the right to develop the country`s oil and other raw materials. In return, China provides loans and technical or commercial assistance. Regional trade agreements play a role in achieving the comparative advantage of raw materials, as they allow certain regions or economies to act either at low rates or at zero tariffs. As in a customs union, many economies come together to reap reciprocal benefits from trade, so that nations that are truly competitive in exporting a given commodity effectively go outside the trade framework because they are not members of a regional trade agreement. In this way, it is necessary to study the impact of ASAs on the competitiveness of raw materials. A free trade agreement removes all barriers to trade between members, which means they can move freely between goods and services.
As far as relations with non-members are concerned, the trade policy of each member is always effective. The anti-globalization movement almost by definition rejects such agreements, but some groups that are normally allied within this movement, for example. .