Innovation in trade agreements

The Min­is­ter says he will pur­sue this approach in nego­ti­a­tions with Chile and Indone­sia.  I’ll be keen to see how it works. 

There seems to be lit­tle ben­e­fit in nego­ti­at­ing a bilat­er­al agree­ment whose ben­e­fits are offered on an MFN basis unless the agree­ment rec­i­p­ro­cal­ly lib­er­al­izes only prod­ucts for which each par­ty is the other’s prin­ci­pal sup­pli­er. In oth­er words, an agree­ment that could be bound in WTO.

But this would cut the breadth of most bilat­er­al agree­ments to a point where they would fail the GATT Arti­cle XXIV test of cov­er­ing ‘sub­stan­tial­ly all trade’. 

Per­haps he means he’ll try to nego­ti­ate a few MFN com­mit­ments in each bilat­er­al deal.

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