All global trade agreements are multilateral. The most successful is the General Agreement on Trade and Customs. Twenty-three countries signed the GATT in 1947, the objective of which was to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade. Companies in the Member States have a greater incentive to trade in new markets, thanks to attractive trading conditions, because of the policy contained in the agreements. The main disadvantage of multilateral agreements is that they are complex. This is what makes it difficult and tedious to negotiate them. Sometimes the length of the trial means that it will not take place at all. In September 1986 began in Punta del Este, Uruguay Round, which focused on extending trade agreements to several new territories. These include services and intellectual property. It has also improved trade in agriculture and textiles. The Uruguay Round led to the creation of the World Trade Organization. On 15 April 12994, the 123 participating governments signed the WTO Agreement in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The WTO has taken the lead in future global multilateral negotiations. Policymakers recognize that regional trade agreements must be consistent with multilateral rules and that coherence between regional agreements and between regional and multilateral systems is needed. Some countries are even negotiating PDOs with the explicit intention of setting a precedent for the future establishment of multilateral rules, while others see deeper actions in regional partnerships as a way to complement the multilateral system. In both cases, there is a case for “multilateral” practices that can help foster convergence. The issues raised by the debate on regionalism are multidimensional and interconnected. Some are primarily legal. For example, Article XXIV requires that all trade between founding members be essentially covered by the ATR, and the same condition is set by Article V of the GATS, which requires significant sectoral coverage of services. But there is no agreement among members on the importance of these formulations and, indeed, many agreements neglect important and sensitive areas such as agriculture and textiles in their coverage. Hence the difficulties encountered by WTO members in assessing the coherence of saAs. Last but not least, there is the economic dimension. This now goes far beyond the impact of tariff preferences on RTA members and third parties.
On the contrary, given the large and growing number of free trade agreements and their overlapping accession, it is the impact of regional agreements on the organization and development of world trade itself. Whatever happens in Doha, it will be one of the main challenges facing trade policymakers on all continents in the coming years. During the GATT years, the review of SAAs was carried out in individual working groups. In order to ensure consistency in their examination, the General Council set up in February 1996 a single committee to monitor all RTAs, the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA). . . .