This interactive and substantive roundtable discussion explored the relationship between mega-regionals (TTIP, TPP, Tripartite negotiations) and the multilateral trade system.
The roundtable was preceded by the launch of the RTA Exchange, a joint initiative of the ICTSD, IDB, and the ADBI.
Watch the event via our webcast.
The RTA Exchange is an independent platform designed to systematically explore the possibilities of convergence and coherence between RTAs and the multilateral trading system, thus building synergies between them.
We expect the RTA Exchange to develop into a leading venue where relevant actors in the RTA world and the WTO - negotiators, policy makers, analysts, regional development institutions, NGOs and private sector representatives - could converge, both physically and virtually to share experiences, ideas, insights and proposals to make the RTAs and the WTO more responsive to each other.
The RTA Exchange services will be made available to all as a "public good" and will certainly benefit the smaller developing countries who are often outsiders to RTAs and typically face more constraints in accessing the knowledge and information needed to engage fully in these debates.
The RTA Exchange is being structured along the following main elements:
- A web-based interface;
- A policy oriented research and analysis program to carry on by the participant institutions; and,
- A regular dialogue and experience sharing program that will start this year with the presentation of the RTA Exchange to the WTO community on July 29, 2014.
The RTA Exchange aims to become a "knowledge broker"; it will build as much as possible on existing information and analysis, but will also undertake specific research where gaps exist and fresh analysis is required to advance the "convergence" role of the RTA Exchange.
Ultimately the aim of the RTA Exchange is to provide a venue where interested stakeholders from the RTA and WTO world interact with each other, discuss policy relevant issues around RTA convergence and identify options to multilateralise best practices or, as appropriate, regionalise best multilateral practices. It will provide this service through a combination of annual conferences, informal roundtables, briefing sessions, expert meetings and regional dialogues.