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The full list of regional trade agreements notified among WTO members is available here. Opening up their economies to the global economy has been essential to enable many developing countries to develop competitive advantages in the manufacture of certain products. In these countries, defined by the World Bank as the “new globalizers”, the number of people living in absolute poverty has decreased by more than 120 million (14%) between 1993 and 1998.1 Integration into the global economy has proven to be an effective way for countries to promote economic growth, development and the fight against poverty. Over the past 20 years, world trade has grown at an average rate of 6% per year, twice as fast as world production. But trade has been a growth engine for much longer. Since 1947, when the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was created, the global trading system has benefited from eight rounds of multilateral trade liberalization and unilateral and regional liberalization. Indeed, the last of these eight cycles (the “Uruguay Cycle”, completed in 1994), led to the creation of the World Trade Organization, which aims to help manage the growing body of multilateral trade agreements. Egypt joined the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in February 1999. Although the customs union is not yet operational, it was launched in June 2009. As a result, tariffs on trade between Egypt and other COMESA member states have been abolished for some parts and reduced for others. The agreement contains, among other things, provisions relating to rules of origin, customs procedures and cooperation on various issues. One way to improve the system would be to limit the practice of self-reporting in developing countries. The United States recently proposed that members or members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) should not be allowed to use the self-reporting option in ongoing and future negotiations.

The same would be true for members of the Group of 20 (G-20), high-income countries under the World Bank definition, or countries that account for 0.5% or more of world merchandise trade. More than 30 countries would be classified in at least one of these categories (Table 2). Industrialised countries enjoy high agricultural protection through a series of very high tariffs, including tariff peaks (tariffs above 15%), escalation of tariffs (tariffs that increase with the level of processing) and restrictive tariff quotas (limiting the amount that can be imported at a lower tariff rate). Average customs protection in agriculture is about nine times higher than in manufacturing. In addition, agricultural subsidies in industrialized countries, which account for two bites of Africa`s total GDP, are undermining the agricultural sectors and exports of developing countries by lowering world prices and anticipating markets. For example, the European Commission spends 2.7 billion euros a year to make sugar profitable for European farmers, while excluding low-priced imports of tropical sugar. A policy that opens an economy to trade and investment with the rest of the world is necessary for sustainable economic growth. The evidence is clear. No country has had economic success in recent decades in terms of significantly increasing the standard of living of its population without being open to the rest of the world. On the other hand, open trade (as well as openness to foreign direct investment) has been an important element of The economic success of East Asia, where average import duties have increased from 30% to 10% over the past 20 years. The parties reported that trade between ASEAN and Korea increased by more than 178 percent, from more than $56 billion in 2006 to more than $156 billion in 2019.