Comparative FTA Toolkit Technical Notes

This note provides a guide for using the FTA Comparative Toolkit. This tool only surveys concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) involving the 48 regional members of ADB. The summary presents whole text provisions of the agreements divided according to the following sub-topics:

Reference to the entire text of a particular FTA, with respective annexes, can be made by accessing the list of FTAS in the FTA By Country/Economy section under the heading Legal Documents.

The following notations are to be referred to in using the FTA Comparative Toolkit:

  1. In general, the preamble and definitions for each chapter are excluded.
  2. If a particular chapter or provision is not present in an agreement, the note will indicate “no provision”.
  3. Related annexes are excluded, except when the specific provision in the main text of the agreement does not contain the detailed information needed.
  4. The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) refers mainly to trade in goods. Trade in services refers to the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). The investment section refers to the ASEAN Investment Agreement (AIA). The section on e-commerce refers to the E-ASEAN Framework Agreement. Intellectual property rights refer to the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation. The dispute settlement section refers to the ASEAN Protocol on Dispute Settlement Mechanism.
  5. Provisions on non-application are excluded.
  6. Concluding provisions referring to entry into force and termination and relations to other agreements are excluded.
  7. Product specific rules are omitted. .
  8. Institutional mechanisms for each chapter heading are omitted, except when it has direct relevance to the application of the disciplines (as with the case of customs procedures and dispute-settlement mechanisms).
  9. All provisions relating to non-tariff measures are classified under the sub-headings on prohibitions.
  10. The schedule of commitments referred to under the services chapter is omitted.
  11. The section on commercial presence under the services chapter refers to the investment chapter in the main agreement, where available.
  12. The section on mobility of persons under services refers to the chapter on movement of natural/business persons in the main agreement, where available.
  13. The rules of origin at the product-level are omitted.
  14. The section on safeguards under the trade remedies chapter refers to the sections on bilateral emergency actions and special safeguards in the main agreement, where available.
  15. The section on implementing provisions under the institutional mechanism chapter refers to the chapter on transparency in the main agreement.
  16. The section on treatment of monopolies under the services chapter refers to the chapter on competition policy in the main agreement.
  17. The investment chapter includes dispute settlement provisions, separate from the chapter on dispute settlement mechanisms.