E15: Regional Trade Agreements and Plurilateral Approaches Expert Group: Proposals and Analysis

Date period
4 December 2013

Implemented jointly by ICTSD and the World Economic Forum, the E15Initiative convenes world-class experts and institutions to generate strategic analysis and recommendations for government, business, and civil society geared towards strengthening the global trade and investment system for sustainable development. The Expert Group on Regional Trade Agreements is co-convened with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

This compilation of five papers was produced in 2013 in the context of the “E15 Expert Group on Regional Trade Agreements and Plurilateral Approaches”, convened by ICTSD and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The background paper raises the question as to whether and how regional trade agreements (RTAs) can be additive to the world trade system and suggests ideas for how to integrate RTAs into the multilateral trading system. The different think pieces present an approach to coordinate and improve information and exchange of ideas on RTAs, analyse the ‘cost-benefit’ equation involved in pursuing plurilateral approaches, question whether RTAs lead to discriminatory treatment or whether they make the markets of participants more contestable as a whole, and finally explore the idea of whether the WTO could be expected to retain a meaningful functional value for its members in the WTO-plus mega-regionals.