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Launch of WTO Database on Gender Equality Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements Takes A Step Forward on Trade and Gender Data Collection

7 September, 2022

On 28 July 2022, the WTO announced the launch of a database collecting commitments for gender equality in regional trade agreements (“RTAs”). The database collects and covers over 300 gender provisions included in over 100 RTAs currently in force and notified to the WTO by its members. This tool is designed to complement the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender in their work related to data collection, one of its top priorities. The database covers provisions on gender equality and women’s empowerment in bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements. The provisions can be filtered by parties and regions, by type of gender issues they address, the implementation instruments they provide, and where they are situated in the agreement.

The database is available here.

The press release covering the database’s launch explains the importance of such data collection:

“The WTO Trade and Gender Officer, Lolita Laperle-Forget, who designed the database, stressed the importance of demystifying gender provisions in order to support the formulation of gender responsive RTAs and ensure that women are not left behind in trade opening policies. She observed that, although the first provision on gender equality was integrated in the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the practice of including gender provisions in RTAs truly emerged in the 1990s with the proliferation of RTAs worldwide and continues to increase.

Stressing that “the development index of the parties to an RTA has nothing to do with the commitments for gender equality”, Ms Laperle-Forget added that “many of these RTAs between developing countries provide for strong commitments for gender equality with specific action points targeted to promote women’s economic empowerment through trade.” She also noted that the database is a one-stop source for policymakers and other stakeholders engaged in trade, including women entrepreneurs. Its objective is to encourage members to formulate and implement provisions that address women’s specific needs.”

Many ArbitralWomen members work at the intersection of international trade and investment arbitration.

Submitted by ArbitralWomen News Director Cherine Foty, Senior Associate, Covington & Burling