Who actually trades under only the WTO rules without a regional trade agreement?

Too Long; Didn't Read: no country of any significance trades only under WTO rules - any country of economic significance is part of a regional trade agreement- UK is part of over 40 trade agreements as part of the EU. This 12th February 2019 story from The Sun newspaper of just 6 trade deals out of 40 ready for 29th March 2019 confirms a reasonable perception - the government is not touting proclaiming a bunch of non EU trade deals as done/delivered -because these deals are not done nor assured. If such deals were assured it would reassure the UK public & strengthen the position with the EU by making the trading position without an EU withdrawal agreeement look better - so lack of proclaimed deals is a real sign of weakness because if there was hidden strength the incentives would be show rather than hide the strength.

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If you think the following is worth writing letters about and publicising please do so. You can get in touch via email - the address is: deal at byjosh.co.uk

I was inspired by James Hardy's piece on Medium to use the WTO database of regional trade agreements to see who actually trades only under WTO rules.

I used a browser automation testing tool (Selenium) to compile a list - which, no surprise, mirrors his list - and if anything is even shorter - Sudan (coutry code 736), Serbia (country code 892) and Montenegro (countrycode 893) now have regional trade agreements. You can see by going to the database at http://rtais.wto.org/UI/PublicSearchByMemberResult.aspx?MemberCode=COUNTRYCODE&lang=1 where COUNTRYCODE is replaced by the 3 digit code for the country - and you can find a list of country codes on Wikipedia

The good news from that shortening of the list is that it may be possible to get regional trade deals in a short space of time , if Mr Hardy's list was accurate, as Mr Hardy's post has a date of Oct 2017 and it is now early 2019. The bad news is they are unlikely to be "deeply bespoke" trade deals of the kind that politicians in general seem to be touting as the solution to leaving the EU.In the case of the UK as part of the EU it is part of over 40 trade deals (RTAs - regional trade agreements) - you can go count them yourself here.That is a non-trivial list of deals to replicate.

So who trades under WTO rules only?

As at January 2019 here is a table from examining the WTO database.

Name Short name, WTO database link & ISO code Summary (from Wikipedia unless labelled as my summary)
Antartica ATA Antartica, 10 my summary: needs no introduction - one with the South Pole and the penguins. Really a category all of its own - apparently it is a condominium in political terms (i.e. shared among sovereign powers).
Holy See VAT Holy See, 336 my summary: Vatican City - you know with the Pope.
Mauritania MRT Mauritania, 478 is a country in Northwest Africa
Monaco MCO Monaco, 492 is a sovereign city-state, country, and microstate on the French Riviera in Western Europe
Palau PLW Palau, 585 is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean.
Sao Tomé and Principe STP Sao Tomé and Principe, 678 is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa.
Somalia SOM Somalia, 706 my summary: Horn of Africa - in civil war since 1991
South Sudan SSD South Sudan, 728 my summary: gained independence in 2011. Wikipedia: has suffered ethnic violence and has been in a civil war since 2013. As of 2018, South Sudan ranks third lowest in the latest UN World Happiness Report.
Timor-Leste TLS Timor-Leste, 626 Wikipedia: comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor. my summary: independent in 2002 after occupation by the Indonesians.
Western Sahara ESH Western Sahara, 732 is a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially Moroccan-occupied
Summary from Wikipedia licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike v3.0

If none of the above are really comparable to the UK (a major OECD member with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council) then those below are even less comparable: they are territories of a country - not even countries in their own right.

Name Short name, WTO database link & ISO code Summary (from Wikipedia unless labelled as my summary)
American Samoa ASM American Samoa, 16 is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa.
Bouvet Island BVT Bouvet Island, 74 is an uninhabited subantarctic high island and dependency of Norway located in the South Atlantic Ocean
Christmas Island CXR Christmas Island, 162 is an Australian external territory comprising the island of the same name. Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean
Cocos (Keeling) Islands CCK Cocos (Keeling) Islands, 166 is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean, comprising a small archipelago approximately midway between Australia and Sri Lanka
Curacao CUW Curacao, 531 is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast
Gibraltar GIB Gibraltar, 292 my summary: the rock - in southern Spain
Guam GUM Guam, 316 is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean
Heard Island and Mcdonald Islands HMD Heard Island and Mcdonald Islands, 334 is an Australian external territory comprising a volcanic group of barren Antarctic islands, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica
Mayotte MYT Mayotte, 175 is an overseas department and region of France officially named the Department of Mayotte. The archipelago is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique
Norfolk Island NFK Norfolk Island, 574 is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, 1,412 kilometres (877 mi) directly east of mainland Australia's Evans Head, and about 900 kilometres (560 mi) from Lord Howe Island. my summary: one of the Commonwealth of Australia's external territories.
Northern Mariana Islands MNP Northern Mariana Islands, 580 is an insular area and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
Puerto Rico PRI Puerto Rico, 630 is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea
St Martin SXM St Martin, 534 is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. With a population of 40,120 on an area of 37 km2 (14 sq mi), it encompasses the southern 40% of the divided island of Saint Martin.
Svalbard and Jan Mayen SJM Svalbard and Jan Mayen, 744 my summary: Norwegian archipelago and volcanic island respectively - both in the Arctic Ocean
Tokelau TKL Tokelau, 772 is a dependent territory of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. It consists of three tropical coral atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo), with a combined land area of 10 km2 (4 sq mi).
United States Minor Outlying Islands UMI United States Minor Outlying Islands, 581 my summary: islands in the Pacific such as Midway Atoll (2.4 sq mi of land and location of the battle of Midway).
Virgin Islands,US VIR Virgin Islands,US, 850 is a group of islands in the Caribbean and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States.
Summary from Wikipedia licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike v3.0

Some trade stats from ONS