‘Regional Trade Courts’ in the Shadow of WTO Dispute Settlement System: The Paradox of Two Courts

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As of May 2018, over 650 notifications of RTAs had been received by the WTO Secretariat. Of these, 287 were in force. While the content of the WTO DSU has largely been replicated in most of the regional adjudicatory bodies, emerging features of some of these RTAs are substantially out of line with the WTO DSU. While some RTAs cover aspects currently alien to the WTO, the degree of liberalisation contained within others seems remarkably deeper than under the WTO. Two distinct questions are therefore addressed in this paper. The first is whether the proliferation of RTAs threatens in any way the existence of the WTO dispute settlement system, while the second concerns the extent to which this fragmented patchwork of 'regional trade courts' contributes to the development of international law. In order to tackle these issues, the paper will first explore existing international rules relating to regional trade arrangements.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Journal of International and Comparative Law
Early online date1 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2020

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