Preferential Trade Agreements in Asia and the Pacific 2019/2020

Preferential Trade Agreements in Asia and the Pacific 2019/2020

Date: 
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Type: 
Databases and related outputs
Abstract

Highlights:
- 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 172 trade agreements in force, 16 signed and pending ratification, and 95 under negotiation (as of November 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 79% of all PTAs in force. In terms of geographical coverage, 49% of all Asia-Pacific region PTAs in force are with economies outside the region, reinforcing the open regionalism of Asia-Pacific economies.
- Between January 2017 and November 2019, 21 new PTAs were signed that had at least one member from the Asia-Pacific region. Of these, 7 were signed in 2017, 10 were signed in 2018 and 4 were signed by the end of November 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 intraregional PTA initiatives and 17 extraregional PTA initiatives have commenced since January 2017.
- Several PTAs signed since 2017 are comprehensive agreements. These include the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Japan-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement.
- The negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) achieved notable progress in 2019. All RCEP Members, except India, has concluded text-based negotiations for all chapters and essential market access issues. The agreement was expected be signed by the fifteen members in 2020. However, uncertainties emerged because of the exit of India from RCEP may cause Japan’s hesitation to sign on RECP.
- The United States and China announced on 13 December 2019 the conclusion of “Phase-I” agreement. Details of this partial scope agreement are yet available. However, the announcement has, at least, cancelled the implementation of new bilateral tariffs and rolled back some of tariffs on imports from China.

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