Unlike only 25 Regional Trade Agreements (RAs) notified under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and still in force*, there are now 290 AAs notified and entered into force worldwide. Over time, ATRs have also become more ambitious, which is often not only customs liberalization between the parties, but also other topics. Today, more than half of notified FDI contains commitments to liberalize trade in goods, services and investment. In addition, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) continue to be actively involved in the negotiation of new IFIs, indicating that the rapid growth of these agreements will continue since the early 1990s. While ATRs are permitted derogations from multilateral rules, the dissemination of such agreements poses new challenges to international trade. Liberalization of trade in goods and services will increase trade between the parties, but also increase discrimination against all other WTO members. In addition, they introduce rules and rules on related issues such as standards, trade protection and rules of origin, to name but a few. These have the potential to reinforce discrimination against non-ATR partners and make international trade more complex for exporters and importers. Increasingly, SAAs go beyond market access for goods or services. These include provisions that are not traditionally linked to trade agreements such as competition, government procurement, environment and labour.
Of the FDI notified to the WTO, 50% contains provisions on investment liberalisation, more than 70% on competition, 66% on public procurement, 57% on the environment and more than 30% on labour. The Free Trade Agreement is a subsection of the official website of the Organization of the U.S. State`s Trade Information System (SCIA). It provides documents of specific trade agreements as well as other related topics. Information on customs unions and preferential agreements is also available. Trade agreements open many doors for businesses. Access to new markets will increase competition. Increasing competition is forcing companies to produce better quality products.
It also translates into greater variety for consumers. If there is a wide selection of quality products, companies can improve customer satisfaction. “As a result, these agreements increasingly define new rules that govern trade between their parties and are not extended to all other WTO members. Moreover, for some of these issues, there are no existing WTO rules on international trade. . . .