Evaluating the Contributions of Regional Trade Agreements to Governance of Services Trade

Sherry Stephenson, Maryse Robert
JEL codes: 
ADBI Working Paper Series

Since the early 1990s, regional trade agreements (RTAs) covering trade in services have proliferated, with 95 RTAs on services notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) under Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), as of June 2011. This paper discusses how RTAs support or debilitate the GATS in its governance function as the keeper of rules and liberalization commitments on services trade for WTO members. It addresses this question and its implications for governance by focusing on four different issues: architecture; compliance; ability to promote reforms; and actual impact of RTAs on fostering services trade.