Regional Trade Agreements

Regional trade agreements are reciprocal trade agreements between two or more partners.

Their growth, expansion and deepening has been remarkable since the 1990s, going beyond traditional trade liberalization, encompassing disciplines going beyond WTO rules on issues such as services, investment, competition, government procurement environment and labour.

Challenges from the perspective of developing countries include:

  • Undertaking impact assessment to understand implications of new disciplines in terms of national policy-making.

  • Ensuring that agreements lead to develop complementarities that favour economies of scale and strengthening productive capacities, leading to enhance intra-regional trade opportunities and development gains from trade.

  • Ensuring coherence between negotiations of different agreements including the interface with multilateral rules.

In this area, UNCTAD's work on trade negotiations and commercial diplomacy supports countries in their engagement in different phases of negotiations, including those aimed at the development of negotiating modalities for trade in goods and services and providing analysis to facilitate the evaluation of alternative scenarios and provisions.


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