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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The term ‘regional trade agreements’ (RTAs) primarily covers comprehensive free trade agreements (FTAs), such as NAFTA, and customs unions such as the EU or MERCOSUR, which meet the requirements of Article XXIV GATT 1994. This article focuses on Article XXIV GATT 1994 and raises a broad range of issues, including economic, political, strategic, security, and international and national legal process considerations. It further considers the debate over RTAs versus the global (GATT/WTO) system. It discusses the legal relationships of RTAs to the WTO system. It mentions possible conflicts and addresses scope issues arising between WTO and RTA obligations and among dispute resolution fora. It provides some concluding remarks that conflicts between RTAs and the WTO covered agreements and among dispute settlement systems will increase over time.

Keywords: regional trade agreements, Article XXIV GATT 1994, global system, WTO system, dispute settlement

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