An update on the preferential trade agreements of Asia-Pacific economies (ESCAP Trade Insights: Issue No. 27)

An update on the preferential trade agreements of Asia-Pacific economies (ESCAP Trade Insights: Issue No. 27)

Date: 
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Type: 
Public information and advocacy materials
Abstract

• The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the major contributor to the worldwide build-up of Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs). Looking at the stock of PTAs with at least one party being from this region, we count 171 trade agreements in force, 16 signed and pending ratification, and 96 under negotiations (as of August 2019).

• PTAs tend to go beyond the liberalization of trade in goods. Agreements covering both goods and services account for 49% of all enforced PTAs in the region.

• Bilateral PTAs account for approximately 80% of all PTAs in force. In terms of geographical coverage, 49% of all Asia-Pacific PTAs in force are with economies outside the region, reinforcing the open regionalism of Asia-Pacific economies.

• Between January 2017 and August 2019, 20 new PTAs were signed which had at least one member from the Asia-Pacific region. Of these, 7 were signed in 2017, 10 were signed in 2018 and 3 were signed in 2019.

• The number of newly signed PTAs in the region doubled between 2015-2016 and 2017-2018. The continuing rise of protectionism globally may provide further impetus to new PTAs in the region. In fact, negotiations of 14 new intra-regional PTA initiatives and 18 extra-regional PTA initiatives have commenced since January 2017.

• Several PTAs signed since 2017 are notable. These include the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus and the Japan-European Union (EU) PTA. Another notable PTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), is still under negotiation.

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Trade insights APTIAD 22Oct Download