Preferential Agreements and Multilateralism

Authored by: Mark Manger

The Ashgate Research Companion To International Trade Policy

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409408352
eBook ISBN: 9781315613086
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043096


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One of the most noteworthy developments since the creation of the WTO in 1994 has been the rapid proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). PTAs come in various forms and guises, but their common denominator is that they are exceptions to the most-favoured-nation (MFN) principle that underpins the GATT and the GATS, and that features prominently in many other commercial treaties. In a PTA the members grant better (hence preferential) market access to their partners than to non-members. As reciprocal agreements, they are not to be confused with programmes such as the ‘Generalized System of Preferences’, through which developed countries unilaterally concede better access for imports from developing countries.

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