Consult the Guide
to downloading files.
WTO members (as, previously, GATT contracting parties)
are bound to notify the regional trade agreements (RTAs)
in which they participate. Nearly all of the WTO's
Members have notified participation in one or more RTAs (some Members
are party to twenty or more). Notifications may also refer to the accession of
new parties to an agreement that already exists, e.g. the notification
of the accession of Croatia to the European Union
In the period
1948-1994, the GATT received 124 notifications of RTAs (relating to
trade in goods), and since the creation of the WTO in 1995, over 400 additional arrangements covering trade
in goods or services have been notified.
And many are still being negotiated Back to top
Many WTO Members continue to be involved in new RTA negotiations. Like agreements in force, most new negotiations are bilateral. However a recent development has been negotiations among several WTO Members. This includes negotiations in the Asia-Pacific Region for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, currently between 12 parties; in Asia between ASEAN members and six other WTO Members with which ASEAN has agreements in force (the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement, RCEP); the Pacific Alliance in Latin America currently between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru; and the Tripartite Agreement between parties to COMESA, EAC and SADC in Africa. Such plurilateral agreements, once in force, have the potential to reduce the spaghetti bowl of RTAs especially if they supersede existing bilateral agreements and develop common rules (such as for rules of origin) to be applied by all the parties to the agreement.
Evolution of Regional Trade Agreements in the world, 1948-2015 Back to top
The following Chart shows all RTAs notified to the
GATT/WTO (1948-2015), including inactive RTAs, by year of entry into
Source: WTO Secretariat