Assessing the compliance of ATRs with WTO rules has been a challenge, as the interpretation of the rules can continue to be discussed. In 2001, in the Doha Declaration, members agreed to negotiate with the aim of “clarifying and improving disciplines and procedures under existing WTO provisions on regional trade agreements. It also notes that negotiations will be conducted taking into account aspects related to the development of regional trade agreements. For more information on the topics that have been discussed, click here. Note: WTO statistics on ATRs are based on notification requirements and not on the physical number of ARRs. For an ATR that includes both goods and services, we therefore have two notifications (one for goods and one for services), although it is physically an ATR. The United Kingdom indicated that the provisions of the EU`s regional trade agreements would continue to apply to trade with the United Kingdom during the transitional period of the withdrawal agreement. For more information, see WT/GC/206 and the EU Note (WT/LET/1462), which informs WTO members that the UK will be treated as a member state of the European Union for relevant international agreements during the transition period. Regional trade agreements (ATRs) have multiplied over the years and have achieved, including a significant increase in major multilateral agreements being negotiated. Non-discrimination between trading partners is one of the fundamental principles of the WTO; However, reciprocal preferential agreements between two or more partners are one of the exceptions and are allowed by the WTO subject to a number of provisions. Information on WTO-notified ATRs is available in the RTA database. The World Trade Organization`s database on preferential trade agreements (EEA) contains information on non-reciprocal preferential trade agreements implemented by WTO member states. Meanwhile, preferential trade agreements (EPAs) refer to unilateral trade privileges such as the Generalized Preference System (GSP) and non-reciprocal preferential programmes implemented by some WTO members for products from developing and least developed countries.
Information on preferential trade regimes notified to the WTO is available in the PTA database. The Organization of American States` SICE database contains information on trade policy in North and South America, including comprehensive drafts of trade agreements applicable to the 34 OAS member countries, new and ongoing trade developments, information on national trade laws, and links to international, regional and national sources of trade policy. From 1960, DataBank provided users with chronological data on trade and investment for all 188 world Bank member countries. The data include trade flows, tariffs, terms of trade and foreign direct investment. Global trade alert providers will provide users with real-time information on the actions taken by the state during the current global recession that could affect international trade. The database allows users to search for the nature of the measure, the sector, the implementation of the jurisdiction or the relevant business partner. Negotiators of the Regional Trade and Investment Agreements (RTIAs) are the main target group of this scheme. Those with environmental backgrounds will have a mandate to protect the environment and may not have strong expertise on the impact that trade policy can have on that objective. Similarly, trade policy negotiators may be responsible for ensuring that the RTIA has strong environmental protection, but may not have extensive environmental expertise or how they are concerned with trade law and policy.