« Commenting on the relationship between prolific and pioneering regional trade agreements and a faltering WTO, the author questions whether the latter can regain initiative and control on trade regulation.
The multilateral trading system is geared towards a disciplined opening of markets and liberalisation of trade. Cooperation is regulated in order to ensure that equal treatment is respected by states, both in their relationships to one another and towards foreign operators on their territory. However, the proliferation of regional trade agreements, with their ever-widening normative influence and the numerous overlaps they entail, not only undermines the universal scope of the multilateral trading system, but also reveals the challenges involved in trying to renew and adapt its rules to our interconnected and globalised world. »