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Wto Committee On Regional Trade Agreements

On 14 December 2006, the General Council adopted a decision on a transparency mechanism for WT/L/671 regional trade agreements. With this decision, the Committee is responsible for implementing the ATR transparency mechanism for the agreements covered in paragraph 2, paragraph (c), the enabling clause authorising preferential regimes between developing countries in trade in goods. Under the Transparency Mechanism, WTO members negotiating a new ATR must provide the WTO with information on the ATR, including its scope, any timetable for its entry into force and any other relevant information. The Committee`s mandate is to continuously review the participation of members of developing countries in the multilateral trading system. In order to assist the Committee in its review, the WTO secretariat regularly prepares an update of its statistical document on developing countries` participation in world trade. You can find the latest update here. During the GATT years, regional trade agreements were reviewed in different working groups and the GATT Council adopted reports on their review. A new working group has been set up for each new agreement notified to the Secretariat. WTO members are allowed to conclude the RTA under certain conditions, defined in three sentences. These rules include the creation and operation of customs unions and free trade zones for trade in goods (Article XXIV of the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), regional or comprehensive agreements for trade in goods between developing countries (empowerment clause) and trade agreements on services (Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services).

In general, ATRs must essentially cover all trade – unless they are subject to the enabling clause – and make trade between RTA countries freer without increasing trade barriers with the outside world. The Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) reviews some regional agreements and is also responsible for conducting discussions on the systemic impact of agreements on the multilateral trading system. The presidency is. Assessing the compliance of ATRs with WTO rules has been a challenge, as the interpretation of the rules can continue to be discussed. In 2001, in the Doha Declaration, members agreed to negotiate with the aim of “clarifying and improving disciplines and procedures under existing WTO provisions on regional trade agreements.


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