The Treatment of Agriculture in Regional Trade Agreements in the Americas

Oct 2009
In the last years, intra-regional and extra-regional bilateral trade agreements have proliferated in the developing world, particularly in Asia and the Americas, where countries often belong to more than two agreements. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have formed nearly three dozen regional trade agreements (RTAs) notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and more continue to be negotiated. The purpose of this paper is to map the treatment of this sector in RTAs, analyze the depth of the related commitments, and examine the extent to which commitments under the RTAs in the Americas can impact the trade flow of agricultural products among parties. The paper covers market access commitments, subsidies, safeguards, technical barriers to trade, SPS, and other provisions pertaining to the agricultural sector. The impact on trade flows of some sensitive products, such as beef and milk, will be given specific analysis.