REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS: COMMITTEE

The Committee on Regional Trade Agreements

The Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) is responsible for examining individual regional agreements and for considering the systemic implications of such agreements for the multilateral trading system and the relationship between them. The CRTA's terms of reference can be found in WT/L/127. The current chair is .

The work of the Committee was substantially revised as a result of the General Council Decision of 14 December 2006, which established a “Transparency Mechanism for Regional Trade Agreements” on a provisional basis.

The CRTA is charged with implementing the Transparency Mechanism for RTAs falling under Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The Committee on Trade and Development meanwhile considers RTAs falling under the Enabling Clause (covering trade agreements between developing countries).

More information on the consideration process for RTAs under the Transparency Mechanism is available here. For a historical background on the Committee's work prior to the establishment of the Transparency Mechanism in 2006, click here. For background on the work on RTAs prior to the establishment of the Committee on RTAs, click here.

The CRTA's other functions are to consider how the required reporting on the operation of agreements should be carried out and to develop procedures to facilitate and improve the examination process. The CRTA is also mandated to consider the systemic implications of RTAs for the multilateral trading system and the relationship between them.

At the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in 2015, WTO members adopted a Ministerial declaration in which they agreed to work towards the transformation of the current provisional Transparency Mechanism into a permanent mechanism, without prejudice to questions related to notification requirements. Ministers also instructed the CRTA to discuss the systemic implications of RTAs for the multilateral trading system and their relationship with WTO rules.

Documents on the Committee's work such as annual reports and minutes of meetings are available here.

Historical background on Committee work (1996-2006)
Work on RTAs prior to the establishment of the Committee on RTAs