Report on the Treatment of Medical Devices in Regional Trade Agreements (ATR) The Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong, China and Georgia, parties to the agreement that came into force on 13 February 2019, highlighted the benefits it has brought to trade and investment on both sides. Georgia has abolished tariffs on 96.6% of its tariffs on imports from Hong Kong, China, while Hong Kong and China have linked its tariff regime. When a WTO member enters into a regional integration agreement in which it provides more favourable terms for its trade with other contracting parties than other WTO members, it departs from the guiding principle of non-discrimination defined in Article I of the GATT, Article II of the GATS and elsewhere. WTO members are allowed to conclude the RTA under certain conditions, defined in three sentences. These rules include the creation and operation of customs unions and free trade zones for trade in goods (Article XXIV of the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), regional or comprehensive agreements for trade in goods between developing countries (empowerment clause) and trade agreements on services (Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services). In general, ATRs must essentially cover all trade – unless they are subject to the enabling clause – and make trade between RTA countries freer without increasing trade barriers with the outside world. Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of the WTO. Members generally committed not to favour one trading partner over another. An exception to this rule are the RTAs.
These transactions are inherently discriminatory, as only their signatories benefit from more favourable market access conditions. WTO members recognize the legitimate role of RTA, which aims to facilitate trade between its parties, but which would not create barriers to trade vis-à-vis third parties. Georgia said the agreement will significantly support investment in participating states. The parties are working to regulate the rules of origin of the agreement, Georgia added. Ukraine said full implementation of the agreement would help the parties achieve a predictable business environment and boost development. Moldova has stated that free trade agreements such as this are an important complement to the multilateral trading system. Azerbaijan, a WTO observer, said the agreement is part of positive developments that the parties have already benefited from with some GUAM member states under existing free trade agreements. In particular, agreements should help to make trade between ATR countries freer without barriers to trade with the outside world. In other words, regional integration should complement, not threaten, the multilateral trading system.
By 2031, Peru and Honduras will liberalize about 99 percent of their customs positions on imports. In addition, the liberalization of trade in services goes beyond the respective obligations of the parties under the WTO`s general agreement on trade in services. Peru said the agreement would open up a predictable legal framework for all business activities and would open up new opportunities for small businesses. Bilateral trade reached only $66 million in 2019, but this figure is expected to increase in the post-pandemic phase, Peru added. Online Research Documents General documents relating to regional trade agreements carry the WT/REG document code. As part of the Doha Agenda trade negotiations mandate, they use TN/RL/O (additional values needed).