This note looks at the WTO rules and procedures applicable to the implementation period of regional trade agreements on trade in goods. In addition, it highlights some differences between law and practice and explores the implications of these divergences. Where the GATT and subsequent instruments draw a distinction between ‘full’ regional trade agreements and ‘interim’ agreements, in practice all agreements are notified as ‘full’ agreements with an implementation period. It analyses the possibility that this deviation from the law, now sanctioned in the 2006 Transparency Decision, might have some practical implications for the regulation of regional trade agreements in the WTO.
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