World Trade Organization Regional Trade Agreements Information System

The OECD Statistical Database provides the 34 OECD countries and their trading partners with access to data on time series exchanges. The database includes trade flows of goods and services as well as non-traditional indicators such as trade in intermediate goods and trade in export imputations. The International Trade Center (ITC) has developed five online tools (Trade Map, Market Access Map, Investment Map, Trade Competitiveness Maps) that allow users to identify export and import opportunities, compare market access requirements and monitor domestic business performance. Statistics include trade, tariff and foreign direct investment data, as well as national voluntary sustainability standards. The databases aim to help businesses and trade promotion organizations identify business opportunities and help policy makers monitor domestic trade performance and prepare for trade negotiations. The IMF provides access to trade and investment data through the following databases: Directorate of Trade Statistics (DOTS), Balance of Payments Statistics (BOPS) and International Financial Statistics (IFC). The data cover all 188 IMF members from 1948 onset and include transnational trade flows, international economic transactions and the international investment positions of member states. In 2006, WTO members agreed to put in place an interim mechanism to increase the transparency of ATRs and to understand their impact on the multilateral system. As part of this process, WTO members inform the WTO of their ATRs and these are discussed as broadly wto membership, based on a substantive presentation drawn up by the WTO secretariat. Michael Roberts was a trade expert in the EU`s TACIS project “Helping to Improve Agricultural and Food Trade Between CIS Countries,” Moscow, and is a WTO advisor.

Peter Wehrheim is an associate professor at the Institute for Economics, Agricultural Policy and Political Information Systems at the University of Bonn. The two authors were associated with the project by AFC Consultants International GmbH, Bonn. AFC has implemented the project in collaboration with ASA, Bonn and Agritechno, the support of Brussels of these companies is gratefully recognized. The interpretations expressed in this document are those of the authors and should in no way reflect the policies or opinions of the aforementioned companies or the EU Commission. Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of the WTO. Members generally committed not to favour one trading partner over another. An exception to this rule are the RTAs. These transactions are inherently discriminatory, as only their signatories benefit from more favourable market access conditions. WTO members recognize the legitimate role of RTA, which aims to facilitate trade between its parties, but which would not create barriers to trade vis-à-vis third parties. Many governments are increasingly recognizing the need to ensure that trade and investment agreements reflect environmental concerns in order to contribute to cross-cutting environmental objectives and increase public acceptance.