Wto Free Trade Agreements

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Wto Free Trade Agreements

The creation of free trade zones is seen as an exception to the most privileged principle of the World Trade Organization (WTO), since the preferences of the parties to the exclusive granting of a free trade area go beyond their accession obligations. [9] Although GATT Article XXIV authorizes WTO members to establish free trade zones or to conclude interim agreements necessary for their establishment, there are several conditions relating to free trade zones or interim agreements leading to the creation of free trade zones. First, the parties that signed a free trade area applicable to trade with non-parties to that free trade area at the time of the creation of that free trade area must not be higher or more restrictive than tariffs and other rules applicable in the same signatory countries prior to the creation of the free trade area. In other words, the creation of a free trade area to give preferential treatment to their members is legitimate under WTO law, but parties to a free trade area are not allowed to treat non-parties less favourably than before the creation of the territory. A second requirement under Article XXIV is that tariffs and other trade barriers must be eliminated primarily for all trade within the free trade area. [10] There are significant differences between unions and free trade zones. Both types of trading blocs have internal agreements that the parties enter into to liberalize and facilitate trade between them. The key difference between unions and free trade zones is their approach to third parties [lack of ambiguity needed]. While a customs union requires all parties to apply and maintain identical external tariffs on trade with non-parties, parties to a free trade area are not subject to such a requirement. Instead, they can set and maintain any customs regime for imports from non-parties, as they see as necessary. [3] In a free trade area without harmonized external tariffs, the parties will adopt a system of preferential rules of origin to eliminate the risk of trade diversion [necessary ambiguities].

[4] It is also important to note that a free trade agreement is a reciprocal agreement that is authorized by GATT Article XXIV. Autonomous trade agreements for developing and least developed countries are permitted by the 1979 decision by the signatories of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (“empowerment clause”) on differentiated and more favourable treatment, reciprocity and increased participation of developing countries. It forms the legal basis for the WTO`s Generalized Preference System (GSP). [13] Free trade agreements and preferential trade agreements (as mentioned by the WTO) are considered an exception to the MFN principle. [14] When a WTO member enters into a regional integration agreement in which he grants more favourable terms to his trade with other contracting parties than other WTO members, he departs from the guiding principle of non-discrimination set out in Article I of the GATT, Article II of the GATS and elsewhere. General Agreement on Trade in Services, Article V, available at www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/26-gats.pdf [GATS] (noting that the GATS “must not prevent any of its members from being a party to a service liberalisation agreement between or between the parties to such an agreement or from concluding an agreement). Online Research Documents General documents relating to regional trade agreements carry the WT/REG document code. As part of the Doha Agenda trade negotiations mandate, they use TN/RL/O (additional values needed). These links open a new window: Allow a moment for the results to appear. It should be noted that with regard to the qualification of the original criteria, there is a difference in treatment between inputs originating and outside a free trade agreement.