ICC POLICY STATEMENT

Policy Statement on Mega – Regional Trade Agreements and the Multilateral Trading System

This policy statement outlines ICC’s position on the relation between multilateral and regional trade liberalization and urges governments around the world to consider how to “multilateralize” – elements of regional and preferential trade agreements.

Multilateralism is the optimal approach to promote trade and investment liberalization around the world. With the rise of global value chains, barriers among third countries upstream or downstream to trade have begun to matter just as much as barriers between direct trading partners. Instead of creating a multitude of country specific solutions, barriers to trade between countries are ideally addressed in a single, global set of rules.

Regional trade liberalization can support longer-term multilateral liberalization if regional agreements are truly market-opening and contain harmonized, global components wherever possible. others. If negotiated in accordance with principles and rules contained in WTO agreements, these regional initiatives can support longer-term multilateral liberalization.
This policy statement outlines ICC’s position on the relation between multilateral and regional trade liberalization and urges governments around the world to consider how to “multilateralize” – elements of regional and preferential trade agreements.

ICC recommends:

  • Adopting an open architecture for additional member accession when negotiating preferential trade agreements, especially mega-regional agreements.
  • Strengthening the WTO’s oversight function of RTAs/PTAs – exercised by the Committee on Regional Trade Agreement and the Transparency Mechanism – to secure that such agreements are transparent and consistent with the requirements of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Article XXIV and General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Article V.
  • Tasking the WTO Secretariat with studying how to best “multilateralize” RTAs/PTAs with a view of extending the benefits of all such agreements on an MFN basis.
  • Engaging the private sector to prioritize the most commercially-meaningful issues and opportunities to drive multilateral engagement.