Showing posts with label free trade areas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free trade areas. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Fact Check: Is the AfCFTA the World's Second Biggest Free Trade Area?

African Continental Free Trade Area countries: Map of AfCFTA members and signatories as of October 2019. Who has signed the AfCFTA, who has ratified the AfCFTA, and who has not signed. Updated for 28th ratification by Mauritius. Colorblind accessible.
The AfCFTA is planned to cover almost all of Africa, but doesn't yet.
The recently-created African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now has 28 full member countries, with 26 more signed on to the project as future members.

That's a lot of members for a free trade area, and everyone seems to be calling it the "world's biggest free trade area since the WTO". But is that label really accurate?

(If you don't want to read the whole article, scroll down to the conclusion for a short summary.)

Monday, October 21, 2019

Mauritius Becomes Full Member of AfCFTA (Map)

African Continental Free Trade Area countries: Map of AfCFTA members and signatories as of October 2019. Who has signed the AfCFTA, who has ratified the AfCFTA, and who has not signed. Updated for 28th ratification by Mauritius. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni, from blank map by Eric Gaba. License: CC BY-SA

Mauritius Ratifies AfCFTA Treaty

Two months ago, we reported on this year's creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an African Union (AU) project to increase trade within Africa. Almost all of Africa's countries have signed on to the AfCFTA, but they only become full members once they've ratified its founding treaty (adopted it into their national laws) and formally registered their ratification with the AU.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Map: What is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)?

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all AfCFTA updates.

African Continental Free Trade Area countries: Map of AfCFTA members and signatories as of August 2019. Who has signed the AfCFTA, who has ratified the AfCFTA, and who has not signed. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni, from blank map by Eric Gaba. License: CC BY-SA

New Trade Bloc: What is the AfCFTA Agreement?

Despite being neighbors, most countries in Africa trade more with other continents than with each other - a peculiar leftover of colonialism that the African Union (AU) has long been looking to change. Last year, the organization's member countries finally came together and agreed on the creation of one of the world's most expansive "free trade areas". The new zone, called the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), officially came into being on May 30, 2019, after a minimum threshold of 22 countries confirmed that they had copied its 2018 founding treaty into their national laws (a process called "ratification").

Friday, June 23, 2017

Why Brexit Matters: 5 Things That Might Change When Britain Leaves the EU

By Bryn Jansson

Map of the European Union, including all member countries, official candidate countries, and potential candidate countries, as 2017 (colorblind accessible).
Map of current and future EU member countries

Brexit Process Finally Begins

The United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) began formal divorce negotiations in Brussels last Monday, June 19, starting a 21-month sprint to the March 2019 Brexit deadline. ("Brexit" is short for "British Exit" from the EU, since "Britain" is another name for the UK.)

UK voters’ surprise choice to leave the EU happened exactly a year ago, on June 23, 2016 - but it didn’t automatically trigger the two-year countdown clock on exit negotiations necessary for departure under Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Map: Kazakhstan Joins WTO

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Map of World Trade Organization (WTO) member and observer countries, updated for December 2015 to include new member Kazakhstan
Member and observer states of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Map by Evan Centanni, starting from public domain blank map (license: CC BY-NC-SA).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Map: Another Country Joins the "Eurasian Union" (May 2015)

Map of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also known as the Eurasian Union. Includes new member Kyrgyzstan, as well as prior members Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Armenia, and disputed territory Crimea
The Eurasian Economic Union's five current member countries, plus disputed Crimea, claimed to be part of Russia. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from this map by Keverich2. License: CC BY-SA
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Map: Seychelles Join WTO

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Map of World Trade Organization (WTO) member and observer countries, updated for April 2015 to include new member Seychelles
Member and observer states of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Map by Evan Centanni, starting from public domain blank map (license: CC BY-NC-SA).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What is the "Eurasian Union"? (Map)

The Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, sometimes simply called the "Eurasian Union", was officially launched at the beginning of this year. Read on for a brief introduction to this major new regional organization, which you can expect to hear a lot more about in the coming months and years!
Map of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also known as the Eurasian Union. Includes new member Armenia, as well as prior members Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and disputed territories Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as acceding member Kyrgyzstan.
The Eurasian Economic Union's four current member countries, plus disputed territories officially or unofficially included in the common market. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from this map by Keverich2. License: CC BY-SA
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Article by Karina Barquet

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Map: "Eurasian Union" Gets New Member

Map of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also known as the Eurasian Union. Includes new member Armenia, as well as prior members Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and disputed territories Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Eurasian Economic Union's four member countries, plus disputed territories that might be officially or unofficially included. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from this map by Keverich2. License: CC BY-SA
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Map: Yemen Joins WTO

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Map of World Trade Organization (WTO) member and observer countries, updated for July 2014 to include new member Yemen
Member and observer states of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Map by Evan Centanni, starting from public domain blank map (license: CC BY-NC-SA).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Map: Laos and Tajikistan Join WTO

Map of World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries, updated for March 2013 to include new members Laos and Tajikistan
World Trade Organization members in green. New members Laos and Tajikistan highlighted (click to enlarge). Map by Evan Centanni, modified from this Wikimedia map by Muso (license: CC BY-SA).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Venezuela Joins Mercosur, Paraguay Suspended

Map of intergovernmental organizations in South America: Mercosur, the Andean Community, and UNASUR (Venezuela and Paraguy indicated)
South America's intergovernmental organizations: Mercosur in green, the Andean Community (CAN) in (orange), and remaining members of UNASUR in blue (claimed territorial extents). Map by Evan Centanni, based on this map by Wikimedia user Luan.
After over six years of waiting, Venezuela today officially joined Mercosur (the "Southern Common Market"), one of South America's two main trade blocs.

The country was previously part of the continent's other major bloc, the Andean Community (CAN), but left that organization last year in anticipation of the switch to Mercosur (see Venezuela Leaves Andean Community).

By the time the Venezuela left CAN last year, its application had finally been approved by all Mercosur member states except for Paraguay; but despite support from that country's president, an opposition party in its congress continued to block Venezuela's entry into the trade organization.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WTO Admits New Members

Organization: World Trade Organization
Countries in Question: Vanuatu, Russia, Montenegro, Samoa
News Categories: Intergovernmental Organizations
Summary: The World Trade Organization, the intergovernmental organization supervising international trade between the majority of the world's countries, admitted one new member last October, and three more last week. Especially notable was the admission last Friday of Russia, which was by far the largest economy not to have joined previously.

Full Story
While some intergovernmental organizations, such as the U.N. or regional unions, were created for general purposes of cooperation between states, others serve more specific purposes. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of these, acting as a venue for countries to agree on rules for international trade. Among its members, economic agreements are subject to rules aimed at liberalizing international trade, and trade-related disputes are also arbitrated through the organization. Formed in 1995 as a replacement for weaker trade treaties of the past, by 2008 the WTO represented approximately 80% of the world's independent countries.

World Trade Organization members in green. Countries joining this year in brighter green, with small countries circled. Modified from this Wikimedia map (license: CC BY-SA).


This October, the WTO grew for the first time in three years, with the acceptance of the Pacific island country of Vanuatu's as a member. Just last week, three more countries joined: Russia, Montenegro, and Samoa. Samoa is another small Pacific island country, and Montenegro was only formed a few years ago from the final breakup of former Yugoslavia. Russia, however, has gained much attention for being the last of the world's major economic powers to join the organization. Although it first applied for admission to the group 18 years ago, before the modern WTO was even formed, until recently Russia was slow to proceed with membership negotiations. For the last few years, it was blocked from entry by Georgia, a WTO member protesting its invasion by Russia during the 2008 war between the two countries, but that hurdle was finally crossed after a Swiss-brokered agreement between Russia and Georgia earlier this year. Although the four new countries have been accepted by the organization, their governments will still have to ratify the agreements in order for them to become full participating members.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Venezuela Leaves Andean Community

Country Name: Venezuela (English, Spanish)
Official Name: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (English), República Bolivariana de Venezuela (Spanish)
News Category: Intergovernmental Organization Membership
Summary: Venezuela has withdrawn from the Andean Community (CAN) customs union, in favor of joining Mercosur, another union in South America. The switch has been represented as a protest against free trade agreements made with the United States on the part of CAN members Peru and Colombia. Admission into Mercosur is still pending, though Venezuela remains a member of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Venezuela (red) has left CAN (orange) in anticipation of joining
Mercosur (green). Other UNASUR members are in blue. Map
includes all claimed territories of the member states. My own
work, based on this map by Wikimedia user Luan (terms of use).

Full Story
Although nation-states are usually considered the basic units of the modern political globe, it has become common in recent decades for countries to work together towards integration at a higher level. The most well known case, and probably the furthest advanced, is the European Union. However, there are a number of other intergovernmental organizations working for integration in other parts of the world. In South America, supranational integration has progressed largely through two major trade blocs: the Southern Common Market (known by its Spanish or Portuguese abbreviations, "Mercosur" or "Mercosul") and the Andean Community (known by the Spanish abbreviation, CAN).

The Andean Community represents a group of countries in the northwestern part South America, while Mercosur is centered around the southeastern region of the continent. The country of Venezuela, located in the north of the continent at the meeting place of the two blocs, has long been a member of the Andean Community. However, in 2006 the Venezuelan government announced the intention to switch its membership to Mercosur. Citing free trade agreements made between the United States and CAN members Peru and Colombia, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez announced that he believed CAN was no longer relevant. After five years, Venezuela fully withdrew this month from the Andean Community. Admission to Mercosur is still pending, though it seems likely in the near future.

CAN and Mercosur have both implemented trade agreements forming customs unions between their members - that is, they have mostly eliminated tariffs between member countries, and have also unified their external customs regulations to be consistent among the whole bloc. They have also proceeded with other cooperative programs, such as coordinating economic policies and setting up courts with international jurisdiction. Over the last decade, they have been working towards integrating with each other to form the Union of South American Nations (USAN or UNASUR/UNASUL), an organization modeled after the European Union. In fact, UNASUR includes all of South America's sovereign states, independently of their membership in CAN or Mercosur, which means that Venezuela will remain a member of UNASUR during its transition period. Venezuela's bid to join Mercosur had originally been seen as a gesture towards integration between Mercosur and CAN, though that is clearly not the case now that the country has withdrawn from CAN.


Wikipedia:
Venezuela
Andean Community (CAN)
Southern Common Market (Mercosur)
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)