Preferential Trade Agreement Policies for Development : A Handbook
Regional integration is increasingly recognized as a key avenue for promoting economic growth and reducing poverty. Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) have become a central instrument of regional integration in all parts of the world. Beyond market access and the progressive elimination of barriers at the border, PTAs are increasingly being used to address a host of behind-the-border issues, also known as 'deep integration' issues, in order to promote cooperation in the areas of investment, trade facilitation, competition policy, and government procurement, as well as wider social issues related to the regulation of the environment and the protection of labor and human rights. The purpose of this handbook is to explore the various ways in which policy makers and trade negotiators in the developing world can limit the costs and maximize the benefits of their regional integration efforts. PTAs have become a cornerstone of the international trade system. The surge in their number and scope is fast reshaping the architecture of the world trading system and the trading environment of developing countries. The integration of these diverse agreements into a multilateral framework that facilitates the expansion of trade is likely to be one of the main challenges facing the world trading system in the coming years. This handbook offers an introduction to the complex world of modern PTAs. It follows in the steps of earlier, seminal World Bank publications on the economics and practice of PTAs, notably new dimensions in regional integration, trade blocs, and regional integration and development. Supplementing these earlier publications, this volume aims at taking its audience beyond the traditional market access paradigm to consider more broadly and systematically the numerous regulatory policy dimensions that are contained in modern PTAs. In particular, it offers a framework for understanding a number of behind-the-border policies typically covered in PTAs, including labor mobility, investment, trade facilitation, competition, and government procurement, as well as other societal and more normative policies related to intellectual property, environment, labor rights, and human rights. These latter are increasingly among the policies driven by powerful trading blocs as they strive to influence developing countries and the evolution of the global trading system. The handbook is also inspired by the numerous requests received by the World Bank from developing countries or groups of developing countries worldwide for advice on PTAs, including those currently being negotiated, as an aid in understanding the obligations and the possible economic and development implications of various provisions.
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