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Abstract

I provide a stocktaking on the profile of regional trade agreements in the global trading system over the last decade focusing heavily on the period since the 2008 financial crisis and relying heavily on WTO notifications. Regional agreements cover both regional trade agreements and broader economic cooperation agreements, but exclude bilateral investment and tax treaties. I note the continued growth in the number of regional agreements, notified to the WTO, as evidence of the lack of reduced momentum in the growth of regional agreements. I temper this by noting that some of this continued growth reflects changes to existing agreements rather than de novo new agreements. Much of the growth is also in agreements between small economies. Finally, I note the recent prospects for new large-country to large-country agreements; especially the TPP, US-EU and Japan-Korea-China agreements. These are yet to be concluded and notified.

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