We discuss recent regional trade and economic partnership agreements involving the large population, rapidly growing economies (BRICSAM: Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa, ASEAN and Mexico). Perhaps 50 out of 300 agreements that exist worldwide involve BRICSAM countries; most are recently concluded and will be implemented over the next few years. Along with extensive bilateral investment treaties, mutual recognition agreements and other country-to-country (or region) arrangements they are part of what we term the non-WTO.

This paper aims to document and characterize the agreements and analyze their possible impacts. Agreements differ in specificity, coverage and content. In some treaties there are detailed and specific commitments, but these also coexist with seemingly vague commitments and (at times) opaque dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms. Whether these represent a partial replacement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) process for newly negotiated reciprocity based on global trade liberalization or largely represent diplomatic protocol alongside significant WTO disciplines is the subject of this paper.