Free Trade Agreements and Regional Trading Agreements

APEC recognises the important role Regional Trading Agreements (RTAs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) can play in trade liberalisation in the APEC region.

In 2005 APEC Leaders included the promotion of high-quality RTAs and FTAs as an element of the Busan Roadmap towards the Bogor Goals and committed APEC to developing model measures for commonly accepted FTA chapters.

Last page update: November 2015

Current Activities

Senior officials continue to provide updates at each of their meetings on the most recent developments on FTAs/RTAs in the region.

Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific

Discussions on the possible pathways to the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) continue. In November 2014, APEC Leaders endorsed the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) to translate the vision of the FTAAP into reality. The roadmap provides for a Collective Strategic Study on Issues related to the Realisation of the FTAAP to be concluded by end of 2016, as well as enhanced information sharing and capacity building.  The study will provide an analysis of potential economic and social benefits and costs, analyse the various pathways towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, and identify challenges economies may face in realizing the FTAAP.

APEC Information Sharing Mechanism on Regional Trade Agreements (FTAs)/Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

APEC economies also agreed to an APEC Information Sharing Mechanism on Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs)/Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that will enhance understanding among economies of possible pathways and build stakeholder support, contributing to the eventual realization of the FTAAP.  The agreed elements of the mechanism include: 

  • Enhancing access of information on RTAs/FTAs
  • Sharing and assessing information on WTO-plus elements of RTAs/FTAs
  • Holding annual dialogues and reports on RTAs/FTAs
  • Reinforcing and intensifying use of WTO RTA transparency mechanism.

In support of the work under the mechanism, the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) has also been tasked to undertake research and produce annual reports on trends and developments in FTA/RTA provisions and outcomes concluded by APEC economies.

In response to enhancing access and sharing/assessing of information, CTI will work with economies to update the existing APEC comparative tool database on FTA/RTAs at http://fta.apec.org.

Links to FTAs/RTAs Information by Economy

To provide easy access to updates to concluded FTAs/RTAs and progress in relation to on-going negotiations, member economies provided e-links to the existing FTAs: 

Economy

Website Links

Australia

www.dfat.gov.au/fta

 

Brunei Darussalam

www.mofat.gov.bn/Pages/Brunei-Darussalam%27s-Policy-on-Free-Trade----Agreements.aspx

 

Canada

http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/fta-ale.aspx?lang=eng

Chile

http://www.minrel.gob.cl/minrel/site/edic/base/port/rel_economicas_eng.html

 

China

http://fta.mofcom.gov.cn/

 

Hong Kong, China

http://www.tid.gov.hk/eindex.html

 

Indonesia

http://djpen.kemendag.go.id/app_frontend/links/58-free-trade-agreement

 

Japan

http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/economy/fta/index.html

http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/trade_policy/epa/english.html

 

Korea

http://www.customs.go.kr/kcshome/site/index.do?layoutSiteId=engportal

 

Malaysia

http://www.miti.gov.my/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.section.Section_8ab55693-7f000010-72f772f7-46d4f042

Mexico

http://www.economia.gob.mx/trade-and-investment/foreign-trade/international-trade-negotiations/north-america

 

New Zealand

http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/2-Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/index.php

 

Papua New Guinea

NA

Peru

http://www.mincetur.gob.pe/newweb/

http://www.acuerdoscomerciales.gob.pe/index.php

Philippines

http://www.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.php/resources/trade-agreements

 

Russia

NA  

 

Singapore

www.fta.gov.sg/sg_fta.asp

 

Chinese Taipei

http://www.moea.gov.tw/Mns/english/content/ContentLink.aspx?menu_id=12141

 

Thailand

http://www.thaifta.com/engfta/Home/Agreements/tabid/168/Default.aspx

 

United States

http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements

http://www.trade.gov/fta/

http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tpp/bta/fta/index.htm

 

Viet Nam

http://wtocenter.vn/fta

 


Starting in 2015, Senior Officials will hold a dialogue under the information sharing mechanism, in the margins of the Second Senior Officials Meeting in May, to discuss trends and patterns in regional FTAs/RTAs, key World Trade Organization (WTO)-plus elements and treatment of newer issues.

Capacity Building Needs Initiative

To support further capacity building towards the eventual realisation of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), CTI developed an Action Plan Framework for the 2nd REI CBNI (2015-2017), which was subsequently endorsed by APEC Ministers and Leaders in Beijing. The 2nd Regional Economic Integration Capacity Building Needs Initiative follows the successful implementation of the Action Plan Framework for REI Capacity Building Needs Initiative 2012-2014.

Several capacity building training workshops were conducted in 2014 including:

  • Government procurement (9-10 January, Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Preparing for FTA negotiations: research, analysis, consultation, development of negotiating positions and team building (6-7 May, Qingdao)
  • Safeguards including transitional safeguards (10-11 June, Surabaya)   
  • Scheduling of services and investment commitments in FTAs (28-29 October, Singapore)
  • Intellectual property (17-18 December, Ho Chi Minh City).

For 2015, APEC Senior Officials will design additional targeted and tailor-made capacity building activities under the 2nd Capacity Building Needs Initiative to narrow the gap of the capacities of APEC economies to facilitate the eventual realisation of the FTAAP.

Next Generation Trade Issues

APEC senior officials will continue to build on next generation trade and investment issues by sharing progress achieved towards implementing the CTI goals. They will undertake further study on the impact of local content requirements on regional integration and economic growth, and discuss possible ways through which economies can promote job creation and competitiveness goals to enhance rather than distort trade. In 2014, APEC economies agreed on an initiative on manufacturing related services in supply chains/value chains as a next generation trade and investment issue, and will develop a plan of action in 2015 to address the issue.

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Achievements

Regional Economic Integration (REI) and a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP)

Accelerating regional economic integration (REI) has been one of the key priorities for APEC since 2007 and this work is advanced mainly by Senior Officials, the CTI and its sub-groups.

Identifying Convergences and Divergences

In 2009, the Convergences/Divergences Study of APEC FTAs was updated by expanding the scope from 30 to 42 intra-APEC FTAs/RTAs and deepening the coverage to include a new chapter on electronic commerce.

Promoting high quality RTAs/FTAs

In 2008 the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) completed its work on model measures by concluding five chapters, including a chapter on Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation that was developed by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).