Historical background and current trends

image of Historical background and current trends

Preferential trade agreements (PTAs) have been around for centuries – long before the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947. This section provides a broad overview of the evolution of these agreements. It begins with a historical account of the process towards greater openness and economic integration that started with the trade networks of the midnineteenth century. It identifies the multiple setbacks and reversals along the way, and finally portrays the different “waves” of agreements that have accompanied the multilateral trading system since its creation. It highlights that there has been a creative tension between regional and multilateral approaches which, although often complicated, has generally advanced trade openness and economic integration.

Related Topics: Market access ; Trade monitoring
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