Discussion forum: World Trade Report 2011 The WTO and preferential trade agreements: From co-existence to coherence

The discussion forum on preferential trade agreements (PTAs) received numerous valuable contributions over a nine month period. Its aim was to promote an open debate on themes relevant to PTAs and to allow people from  a variety of backgrounds to interact and express their views regarding PTAs and the multilateral trading system.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants for their interesting insights into this topic and for making this forum a success.


This forum seeks to promote an informed debate on new era preferential trade agreements — the topic of the World Trade Report 2011. Documents posted on the forum are the sole responsibility of their authors. They have no legal effect on the rights and obligations of WTO members, nor do they imply any judgement on the part of the WTO Secretariat regarding the consistency of any policy with the provisions of the WTO agreements.

See also:
World Trade Report 2010
> Discussion forum: World Trade Report 2010

Understanding the synergy and the possible incoherence between preferential trade agreements(1) and the multilateral trading system is crucial to determining what the WTO’s future agenda on PTAs should be. In an era of offshoring and global supply chains, we may be observing the emergence of a “new era” of preferential trade agreements. These new era PTAs are not primarily about preferential tariffs but about such issues as property rights, establishment rights, repatriation of profits, temporary movement of personnel, infrastructure services, trade facilitation, rules of origin, and dispute settlement mechanisms accessible to private agents, which are crucial to the success of production sharing networks.

1 This term is used in the academic literature to refer to reciprocal free trade agreements and regional trade agreements. This convention will be used throughout the report.


Recently submitted articles  back to top


02/08/2011 Regional integration in East Asia needs strong political commitment
By Liudmila V. Popova and Vladimir N. Kovalenko
02/08/2011 Peculiarities and rationale of asymmetric regional trade agreements
By Vladimir G. Sherov-Ignatiev and Sergei F. Sutyrin


“Is The WTO’s Article XXIV Bad?”
By Monika Mrázová, David Vines and Ben Zissimos


Are preferential agreements stepping stones to other markets?
By Ana Cristina Molina


Looking for Local Labor-Market Effects of the NAFTA
By John McLaren and Shushanik Hakobyan


Member-Heterogeneity and the Common External Tariff in a Customs Union
By Subhayu Bandyopadhyay, Sajal Lahiri and Suryadipta Roy


Preferential Trade Agreements, Trade Creation and Trade Diversion
By Henri Joel Nkuepo  


Impact of environmental regulations on trade in the main EU countries: conflict or synergy?
By Roberta De Santis  


Africa needs a deeper integration agenda
By Trudi Hartzenberg


Multilateralizing services preferences
By Pierre Sauvé and Anirudh Shingal


The Political Economy of Regional Trade Agreements: General Interests versus Special Interests
By Xuepeng Liu, Assistant Professor of Economics
Department of Economics & Finance, Kennesaw State University, USA


“Multilateralizing regionalism” in Latin America and the Caribbean
By Osvaldo Rosales and Sebastian Herreros


Regional Integration and Trade Facilitation
By Jean-Christophe Maur and Ben Shepherd


Regional integration and North-South industrial location: An application to the Euro-Mediterranean area
By Corinne Bagoulla (University of Nantes) and Nicolas Péridy (University of South, Toulon-Var)


Small Country Gains from North-South Preferential Liberalization: The Case of Honduras and DR-CAFTA
By Denis Medvedev


Completing the EU Customs Union. The Effects of Trade Procedure Harmonization
By Yves Bourdet and Maria Persson


A Closer Look at East Asia’s Free Trade Agreements
By Masahiro Kawai, Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, and Ganeshan Wignaraja, Asia Development Bank, Manila


Cross-Border Lobbying and External Tariffs in Preferential Trading Agreements
By Subhayu Bandyopadhyay, Sajal Lahiri and Howard J. Wall


Advancing Trade Facilitation Reform: The Gains to Trade in ASEAN
By Ben Shepherd and John S. Wilson


Do democratic FTAs foster trade flows?
By Jean-Marc Siroën, professor of international economics at the University Paris-Dauphine


Preferential Trade Agreements and Services
By Ms Amélie Guillin, Ph.D student in International Trade (University of Paris I)


Free Trade Agreements and the Consolidation of Democracy
By Xuepeng Liu (Kennesaw State University), Emanuel Ornelas (London School of Economics)


Preferential Trade Agreements: Implementation Matters
By Jean-Pierre Chauffour, Anabel González and Jean-Christophe Maur


Preferential Trading Arrangements as Strategic Positioning
By Daniel J. Seidmann, Professor of Economic Theory, University of Nottingham.


Disaggregating PTAs and the Role of International Division of Labor on PTA Formation
By Hazel C. Parcon, Associate Professor at the School of Economics of the De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines.


The implications for bananas of the recent trade agreements between the EU and Andean and Central American countries
By Giovanni Anania, Professor in the Department of Economics and Statistics at the University of Calabria, Italy


Preferential agreements, regional cooperation and standards
By Jean-Christophe Maur and Ben Shepherd


The Wedding of Trade and Human Rights: Marriage of Convenience or Permanent Match?
By Susan Ariel Aaronson and Jean Pierre Chauffour


On the Relationship between Preferential and Multilateral Trade Liberalization: The Case of Customs Unions
By Kamal Saggi (Vanderbilt University), Halis M. Yildiz (Ryerson University) and Alan Woodland (University of New South Wales)


Trade Agreements in Southeast Asia
By Richard Pomfret, Professor of Economics, University of Adelaide, Australia and Patricia Sourdin, Adjunct Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center, Italy


How does trade respond to Preferential Trade Agreements?
By Neil Foster and Robert Stehrer — The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)


Modelling Kemp-Vanek Admissibility: The Effects of Free Trade Areas on Non-Members
By Robert Waschik, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Law and Management, School of Economics and Finance — Melbourne (Bundoora)


Explaining Nineteenth-Century Bilateralism: Economic and Political Determinants of the Cobden-Chevalier Network
By Markus Lampe, Assistant Professor, Department of Economic History and Institutions, Universidad Carlos III Madrid, Spain
> Article: Explaining Nineteenth-Century Bilateralism: Economic and Political Determinants of the Cobden-Chevalier Network


Always Look at the Bright Side of Non-Delivery: WTO and Preferential Trade Agreements, Yesterday and Today
By Petros C. Mavroidis, Professor of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University's Law School, and Professor Law at the University of Neuchatel
> Article: Always Look at the Bright Side of Non-Delivery


Votes, Vetoes, and Preferential Trading Agreements
by Edward D. Mansfield, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania and Helen V. Milner, Department of Politics, Princeton University
> Article: Votes, Vetoes, and Preferential Trading Agreements


What will the World Trade Report 2011 be about?
by Nadia Rocha and Robert Teh, WTO Secretariat


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Download the Report


Structure of the Report

The 2011 World Trade Report is structured as follows:

• Historical analysis and current trends
• Going beyond the standard analysis
• The contents of PTAs and new patterns of production
• Synergies between the multilateral trading system and PTAs