The vast majority of RTAs, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, are free trade agreements. These represent the least number of restrictions on the political autonomy of national governments. As one moves up the hierarchy of RTAs, governments are forced to coordinate their policies in more and more areas such as tariffs, immigration, taxation and capital movements. Only a handful of RTAs take the form of customs unions. These include Mercosur and the Southern African Customs Union. There is only one economic union: the European Union. Policymakers recognize the need for regional trade agreements to be consistent with multilateral rules and the need to ensure coherence among regional agreements and between regional and multilateral systems. Some countries are even negotiating RTAs through the express intention of setting a precedent for the development of future multilateral rules, while others see deeper action in regional partnerships as a way to complement the multilateral system. In both cases, there are good practices for “supportive multilateral” practices that can help promote convergence.
In the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s, progress in GATT liberalization, the apparent slowdown in European integration, problems of upward economic adjustment in oil prices, and the rise of emerging economies diverted government attention from regional trade agreements. Two developments have been to put regionalism back at the heart of international trade negotiations: the European Community`s decision in the mid-1980s to complete its market integration process by 1992 and the signing of a free trade agreement by the Canadian and American governments in 1988. Until the early 1980s, U.S. administrations had not been enthusiastic about preferential trade agreements; The agreement with Canada and the proposed extensions to Mexico, which led to the signing of NAFTA in 1994 and created the world`s largest free trade area at the time, sent a clear signal that the U.S. international trade strategy had changed and that it would not be likely that it would reject the rtas elsewhere. Deep trade agreements are an important institutional infrastructure for regional integration. They reduce trade costs and set many of the rules by which economies work. If made effective, they can improve political cooperation between countries, thereby increasing international trade and investment, economic growth and social prosperity. Investigations by the World Bank Group revealed that on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA officially entered into force, a group of Indian peasants under the command of Subcomandante Marcos rose up in armed rebellion. This has been shocking not only to Mexican leaders, but also to the international community. The unrest in Chiapas is due to the long-standing economic and social injustice in the region and the isolation and exploitation of landowners and mestizo (caciques) bosses by the local oligarchy. While NAFTA has clearly advanced the goals of free trade, multinationals are often forced to grapple with local economic, political and social realities within a country.
The low standard of living in Chiapas and among Indians throughout Mexico remains a major challenge for the Mexican government. In the years following the Chiapas uprising, poverty rose to about 40 percent in southern Mexico, while poverty in the north declined thanks to closer economic ties with the United States.8 Over the past decade, there has been an increase in these trading blocs with more than a hundred agreements in place and more discussed. A trading bloc is essentially a free trade area, or quasi-free trade area, formed by one or more fiscal, tariff and trade agreements between two or more countries. Some trading blocs have resulted in agreements that have been more substantial than others in the creation of economic cooperation. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to the creation of regional agreements. These agreements can take various forms, ranging from the simplest such as the free trade area to the most complex, an economic union or a monetary union. Overall, global companies have benefited from regional trade agreements by having more uniform criteria for investment and trade, as well as fewer barriers to entry. Companies that choose to produce in a country find it easier and cheaper to transport goods between the member countries of that trading bloc without incurring additional tariffs or regulations. The European Economic Area (EEA) was created on 1. It was created in 1994 as a result of an agreement between the Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EC (later the EU).
In particular, it allowed Iceland (now an EU candidate), Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU`s single market without conventional EU membership. Switzerland has also decided not to join the EU, although it is part of similar bilateral agreements. Economic unions unite all aspects of the common market and adopt a common economic policy, both budgetary and monetary. They form economic institutions responsible for coordinating the common economic policy. The economic union of the European Union is an example of this. MERCOSUR has become one of the most dynamic and imaginative initiatives in the region. The increase in trade, the increase in investment and production are the economic indicators that highlight the remarkable performance of the group. In addition, integration is helping to transform national relations between South American nations and with the world as a whole, creating a new sense of leadership and shared purpose that sends waves of hope across the continent and beyond.
To the extent that RTAs go beyond WTO commitments and remain open to further participation by countries that have committed to comply with their standards, they can complement the multilateral trading system. Over the years, the OECD has examined the relationship between regional trade agreements and the multilateral trading system, in particular with regard to specific policy areas covered by the provisions of the HRA, such as the treatment of agricultural issues, technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, investment provisions concerning international technology transfer, the evolution of the integration of environmental considerations and approaches to market opening in the digital world. Age – to name a few. 22. “About CEFTA,” Central European Free Trade Agreement, accessed April 30, 2011, cefta.net; Andzej Arendarski, Ludovit Cernak, Vladimir Dlouhy and Bela Kadar, Central European Free Trade Agreement, December 21, 1992, accessed April 30, 2011 www.worldtradelaw.net/fta/agreements/cefta.pdf; Wikipedia, s.v. “Central European Free Trade Agreement,” last amended February 12, 2011, accessed February 16, 2011. February 2011, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_European_Free_Trade_Agreement. Trade agreements, which are described as preferential by the WTO, are also referred to as regional agreements (RTAs), although they are not necessarily concluded by countries in a given region. As of July 2007, 205 agreements were currently in force. More than 300 have been notified to the WTO.  The number of free trade agreements has increased significantly over the past decade. Between 1948 and 1994, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO`s predecessor, received 124 notifications.
More than 300 trade agreements have been concluded since 1995.  The EU is a unique organisation in that it is not a single country, but a group of countries that have agreed on close cooperation and coordination of important aspects of their economic policies. As a result, the organization has its own governmental and decision-making institutions. Document search online General documents on regional trade agreements are coded as WT/REG/*. As part of the mandate of the Doha trade negotiations, they use TN/RL/* (where * assumes additional values). These links will open a new window: wait a moment for the results to appear. Regional trade agreements refer to a treaty signed by two or more countries to promote the free movement of goods and services across the borders of its members. The agreement contains internal rules which the Member States follow among themselves.