The evolution of gender-related provisions in Regional Trade Agreements

Regional Trade agreements (RTAs) are sometimes considered as laboratories in which new types of provisions are negotiated to address recent trade-related issues. Although the inclusion of gender-related provisions in RTAs is not a recent phenomenon, only a limited but increasing number of RTAs refer explicitly to gender-related issues. These gender-related provisions are highly heterogeneous and differ in terms of location in the RTA, language, scope and commitments. Some of the most detailed gender-related provisions are found in stand-alone chapters on gender. Cooperation provisions on gender-related issues, including labour, health and social policy, remain the most common type of gender-related provisions found in RTAs.

The remaining types of genderrelated provisions, included in a relatively limited number of RTAs, cover different issues, including upholding domestic gender-policies, implementing international gender-related agreements and instruments, and establishing institutional arrangements to oversee the implementation of the gender-related provisions and resolve issues through consultations. The first Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTGA), negotiated by Canada, Chile and New Zealand in 2020, builds on many of the gender-related provisions found in RTAs but sets out also new types of gender-related provisions, such as the principle not to weak or reduce the protection provided in gender equality laws and regulations to promote trade or investment.

No: ERSD-2021-8

Authors: José-Antonio Monteiro

Manuscript date: January 2021

Key Words:

Regional Trade Agreements, Gender, Women, Equality, Inclusiveness

JEL classification numbers:

F13, F15

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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of its author. They are not intended to represent the positions or opinions of the WTO or its members and are without prejudice to members' rights and obligations under the WTO. Any errors are attributable to the author.

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