The proceedings against the SAAs focus on this discriminatory nature, which runs counter to the fundamental principle of the post-war trade regime. Some countries may be excluded from SAAS because others do not consider them to be sufficiently important markets to justify the investment of the bureaucratic resources necessary for the negotiation and implementation of agreements. Similarly, countries that are not considered reliable partners due to the nature of their political systems should be excluded. These concerns apply in particular to small, less developed economies. In addition, political factors can play a role both in influencing the choice of potential partners and in determining the outcome of negotiations. For the weaker countries, the great advantage of the post-war multilateral trade regime was that it largely distanced political considerations from trade issues. THE RTAs also pave the way for thinking about power to dictate the terms of agreements. Studies of the recent wave of SAA have shown that less developed countries have made more concessions than industrialized countries in regional partnerships involving countries with different levels of economic development. Regional trade agreements are multiplying and changing in nature. Fifty trade agreements were in force in 1990.

In 2017, there were more than 280. In many trade agreements, negotiations today go beyond tariffs and cover several policies that influence trade and investment in goods and services, including rules across the border, such as competition policy, government procurement rules and intellectual property rights. ASAs covering tariffs and other border measures are “superficial” agreements; THE RTAs, which cover a larger group of policies, at and below the border, are “deep” agreements. Today, SAAs are evolving in a way that goes beyond existing multilateral rules. The areas they cover – investment, capital and passenger transport, competition and state-owned enterprises, e-commerce, anti-corruption and intellectual property rights – are key policy issues that need to be addressed in today`s more interconnected markets. Megaregional initiatives are of a whole new magnitude and offer preferential access to Member States` markets by trying to conclude twenty-first century trade agreements with deep and full market integration. All our research and trade analysis can be read for free online in the OECD-iLibrary Other criticisms of RTAs are that they increase the cost of international trade for businesses (because each agreement has its own rules that companies must comply with) and divert attention and resources from global negotiations. where the profit potential of trade liberalization is highest….