New rules for regional trade agreements?

WTO’s sug­ges­tion for turn­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of ‘free trade agree­ments’ to pos­i­tive account. bq. “Two ground rules of pol­i­cy behav­iour could help to con­sol­i­date and build upon the ben­e­fits of region­al­ism and pro­mote a more effec­tive mul­ti­lat­er­al trad­ing sys­tem . bq. The first rule would be to refrain from engag­ing in region­al com­mit­ments (on issues cov­ered with­in the man­date of the WTO) which gov­ern­ments would be unwill­ing, soon­er or lat­er, to extend to a mul­ti­lat­er­al set­ting. The sec­ond would be to con­sol­i­date the first rule by agree­ing to a con­sul­ta­tive sys­tem that would map and mon­i­tor the tim­ing and con­di­tions attached to the non-dis­crim­i­na­to­ry, mul­ti­lat­er­al appli­ca­tion of com­mit­ments made in region­al arrange­ments. ” From the WTO’s “World Trade Report 2003”, now avail­able from their “website(link to the sum­ma­ry and down­load links on WTO site)”:

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