Why are Bilateral Trade Agreements so Popular, and Does it Matter?

  • Jayant Menon


On 15 August 2004, Mongolia signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) with the United States (US), a precursor to a bilateral trade agreement (BTA). Prior to this, Mongolia was the only country that had not signed either a TIFA or a BTA with another country, or had not joined a regional or plurilateral trade agreement (PTA). Every other country in the world today is a member of at least one BTA, and most are members of multiple BTAs.1 If PTAs were considered the main threat to the world trade system in the 1990s, the concern has since shifted toward BTAs. BTAs have been proliferating at an astounding pace recently.


European Union Fair Trade World Trade Organization Free Trade Agreement North American Free Trade Agreement 
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© Asian Development Bank 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jayant Menon

There are no affiliations available

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