Edited by M. A.B. Siddique
Chapter 2: Preferential Trade Agreements and the Role and Goals of the World Trade Organization
Andrew L. Stoler INTRODUCTION Notwithstanding an ongoing multilateral trade negotiation in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Round, the world in 2006 is witnessing an unprecedented degree of activity related to the negotiation and implementation of Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs).1 In the time since the launch of the Doha Round, Australia – long seen as one of the most ardent backers of the General Agreement on Tariﬀs and Trade (GATT) and WTO – has negotiated and agreed on PTAs with Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Canberra has embarked on PTA negotiations with China, Malaysia and the UAE and, together with New Zealand, is negotiating a PTA with ASEAN’s AFTA group. And Australia’s pace of PTA activity, while impressive, pales in comparison with that of the United States. As of mid-2006, Washington is simultaneously negotiating PTA’s with member countries of the Andean Group, Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), Malaysia, Korea, Panama and the UAE (negotiations with Thailand started but are now suspended). In the past two years, the American Congress has approved PTAs with Australia, Morocco, Bahrain, the Central American Common Market and the Dominican Republic. And the United States has not given up in its now-stalled eﬀort to negotiate a PTA encompassing nearly all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Japan and Mexico have concluded a PTA, as have Korea and Chile. Singapore and Panama are exploring a deal. The European Union is in active negotiations on a PTA with Mercosur. Little wonder why, in the face...
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