Burgeoning bilateral and regional trade agreements meet the need to regulate global production and can benefit non-members, but the WTO’s multilateral system also has a role in reducing the resulting complexity.
The World Trade Report 2011, which was presented to United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) members on 27 July 2011 in Bangkok, observes that Asian countries have become some of the most active in signing preferential trade agreements (PTAs).
They have been party to almost half the PTAs concluded in the last 10 years. This has contributed to the increased concentration of trade within the region — second only to Europe in 2009.
But more significantly preferential agreements are evolving towards deeper integration that goes beyond tariffs and other measures at national borders — they increasingly include domestic policies such as regulations on services and investment, intellectual property protection and competition policy, which the report calls “deep PTAs”. Full story>>