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World Trade Organization (WTO) is formed in April 1995 as an international body to promote free trade by persuading countries to abolish import tariffs and other barriers. As such, it has become closely associated with globalization. The WTO is the only international agency overseeing the rules of international trade. It polices free trade agreements, settles trade disputes between governments and organizes trade negotiations.
Regional Trade Agreement is a type of instrument to influence trade pattern between economies. According to WTO, Regional Trade Agreement (RTAs) are reciprocal trade agreements between two or more countries, including free trade agreements and custom unions. Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and partial scope agreements form majority of agreements formed in RTAs. RTA helps in trade flows more freely among the countries in the group without barriers.
Number of RTAs are increasing continuously in different parts of the globe. Till January 8, 2015 some 604 RTA’s notification has been received by WTO out of which 398 are in force.