[OECD. Published by OECD Publishing] Regionalism( )

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  • Regionalism and the Multilateral Trading System

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    Regional trade agreements (RTAs) are increasingly portrayed as a threat to the free global exchange of goods andservices. They involve an ever-growing share of world trade. The proportion of world trade covered by such accordsis expected to grow from 43% today to 55% in 2005, if all regional agreements now in discussion are actually putinto place. Moreover, in the event of a logjam in the ongoing Doha round of multilateral trade talks under the WTO,many WTO members are ready to place even greater emphasis on regional initiatives.

    Against this backdrop, this study compares rule-making provisions in regional trade agreements with those of theWTO in individual chapters covering ten specific areas: services, labour mobility, investment, competition policy,trade facilitation, government procurement, intellectual property rights, contingency protection, environment, andrules of origin. Three main questions are addressed: How far do RTAs go beyond existing multilateral trade rules inthe WTO? Do they present a divergence from or a convergence with the multilateral system? What are the effectson non-members?

    It emerges clearly from the ten papers that precisely because they are both a sub-set of liberalisation and anexception to the most-favoured-nation (MFN) principle, RTAs have both positive and negative impacts. How thesepositive and negative elements play out is, accordingly, a central theme of this study. The principal purpose of thisbook is to clarify the relationship between regionalism and the multilateral trading system. It also aims to provide ananalytical framework for WTO members' ongoing consideration of how best to manage that relationship and how tofoster the complementarities between RTAs and the multilateral system.

    -:HSTCQE=VUVX[Y: ISBN 92-64-10136-522 2003 03 1 P

    www.oecd.org

    Regionalism and the MultilateralTrading System

    Industry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services TradeIndustry Services Trade

    OECD's books, periodicals and statistical databases are now available via www.SourceOECD.org, our online library.

    This book is available to subscribers to the following SourceOECD themes:

    Industry, Services and TradeFinance and Investment/Insurance and PensionsGovernance

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  • Regionalism and the Multilateral

    Trading SystemORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

  • ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

    Pursuant to Article 1 of the Convention signed in Paris on 14th December 1960, and which came

    into force on 30th September 1961, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

    (OECD) shall promote policies designed:

    to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of

    living in member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the

    development of the world economy;

    to contribute to sound economic expansion in member as well as non-member countries in the

    process of economic development; and

    to contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, non-discriminatory basis in

    accordance with international obligations.

    The original member countries of the OECD are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France,

    Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain,

    Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The following countries

    became members subsequently through accession at the dates indicated hereafter: Japan

    (28th April 1964), Finland (28th January 1969), Australia (7th June 1971), New Zealand (29th May 1973),

    Mexico (18th May 1994), the Czech Republic (21st December 1995), Hungary (7th May 1996), Poland

    (22nd November 1996), Korea (12th December 1996) and the Slovak Republic (14th December 2000). The

    Commission of the European Communities takes part in the work of the OECD (Article 13 of the OECD

    Convention).

    Publi en franais sous le titre :

    Le rgionalisme et le systme commercial multilatral

    OECD 2003

    Permission to reproduce a portion of this work for non-commercial purposes or classroom use should be obtained through the Centre franais

    dexploitation du droit de copie (CFC), 20, rue des Grands-Augustins, 75006 Paris, France, tel. (33-1) 44 07 47 70, fax (33-1) 46 34 67 19, for every country

    except the United States. In the United States permission should be obtained through the Copyright Clearance Center, Customer Service, (508)750-8400,

    222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923 USA, or CCC Online: www.copyright.com. All other applications for permission to reproduce or translate all or part

    of this book should be made to OECD Publications, 2, rue Andr-Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France.

  • 3

    FOREWORD

    This study on the relationship between regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the multilateral trading system was mandated by the Trade Committee at its meeting of 13-14 February 2001. A principal frame of reference is provided by the OECD 2001 Ministerial Communiqu which observed that "WTO-consistent preferential trade agreements can complement but cannot substitute for coherent multilateral rules and progressive multilateral liberalisation". In exploring the nature of that complementarity, the study compares rule-making provisions in RTAs with those in the WTO in ten issue areas: services, labour mobility, investment, competition, trade facilitation, government procurement, intellectual property rights, contingency protection, environment and rules of origin.

    It was felt to be particularly appropriate to focus, as this study does, on the rule-making dimension of regional trade agreements. This for two reasons. First, in recognition of the fact that the ten issues covered in this study, and the rule-making dimension inherent in them, are receiving increased attention in regional trade initiatives. Second, as a complement to the more established though by no means complete work on the assessment of the welfare effects of preferential regional trade agreements.

    The ten chapters of this study have benefited from extensive discussion within the Working Party of the OECD Trade Committee. The chapters on Competition Policy and on Environment were also discussed, respectively, in the Joint Group on Trade and Competition and the Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment.

    In preparing each of the issue papers of this study a very wide range of agreements has been examined. The decision as to whether or not to mention any particular agreement has rested on the extent to which that agreement offers useful insights about the nature of the relationship between regional trade initiatives and the multilateral trading system. The focus therefore is not so much on RTAs themselves as on the issues central to, or bearing on, the multilateral trading system, drawing on experience in different RTAs to the extent that it is relevant for the analysis. While this approach has widened the range of experience on which to draw, it has also called for care in acknowledging the different circumstances in which that experience has been, or is being, forged.

    This study is intended to provide an analytical backdrop for WTO Members' ongoing consideration of how best to manage the relationship and foster greater complementarity between RTAs and the multilateral trading system.

    This book is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General.

  • 5

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Glossary and abbreviations ...................................................................................................... 7

    Key Findings. Regionalism: a complement, not a substitute .............................................. 11

    Chapter 1. Services........................................................................................................ 23

    Chapter 2. Labour Mobility.......................................................................................... 45

    Chapter 3. Investment .................................................................................................. 61

    Chapter 4. Competition Policy ..................................................................................... 71

    Chapter 5. Trade Facilitation........................................................................................ 87

    Chapter 6. Government Procurement........................................................................... 97

    Chapter 7. Intellectual Property Rights ...................................................................... 111

    Chapter 8. Contingency Protection ............................................................................ 127

    Chapter 9. Environment ............................................................................................. 139

    Chapter 10. Rules of Origin ......................................................................................... 159

    Tables

    Table 1.1 Key disciplines in RTAs covering services ........................................................ 29 Table 1.2 Key features of RTAs covering services ............................................................ 34 Table 7.1 IPRs: