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The rapid increase in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) has been a prominent feature of international trade policy in recent times. PTAs constitute an exception to the general most-favoured nation (MFN) provision of the WTO, whereby all WTO members impose on each other the same nondiscriminatory tariff. With the exception of Mongolia, all WTO members are party to at least one PTA. Interest in negotiating PTAs appears to have been sustained despite the global economic crisis. Indeed, the economic crisis itself may be spurring governments to negotiate new PTAs as much to preserve existing openness in the face of political pressure to reduce access as to generate new openness. The explosion of PTAs has triggered a parallel eruption of research on the subject. Nevertheless, this report provides fresh perspectives and insights into this important area of trade policy.

Related Topics: Market access ; Trade monitoring
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