The EU–Mexico Free Trade
Agreement: Assessing the EU
approach to regulatory issues
Many modern regional trade agreements (RTAs) go beyond traditional trade issues, such as the liberalization of tariffs and quotas, and thereby represent examples of what has been coined “deep integration”. These RTAs include trade issues that were incorporated in the multilateral trading system at the Tokyo and Uruguay Rounds, such as services, government procurement, intellectual property rights, sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), and technical barriers to trade (TBTs). But some more recent agreements also extend to cover new trade-related policy areas that are, at least in part, on the Doha Development Agenda established at the Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Qatar in November 2001. In the WTO context, these policy areas are often referred to as the Singapore issues, because they were discussed at the 1996 WTO Ministerial in Singapore, and include transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation, investment and competition. Some modern RTAs go one step further and include other important and potentially even more controversial policy issues, such as environmental regulation and labour standards.
Although regulatory and other “behind the border” issues are key elements of many modern regional trade agreements, the WTO provides little guidance on what types of commitments in RTAs will be compatible with WTO obligations. This is in contrast to the area of trade in goods and