17 Eur. L.J. 561 (2011)
The Institutionalisation of Regional Trade Agreements Worldwide: New Dynamics and Future Scenarios

handle is hein.journals/eurlj17 and id is 561 raw text is: 


European Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 5, September 2011, pp. 561-567.
C 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK
and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA




    Introduction: The Institutionalisation of

    Regional Trade Agreements Worldwide:

      New Dynamics and Future Scenarios


            Francesco Duina and Sonia Morano-Foadi*



We  live in an age of regional trade agreements (RTAs). According to the World Trade
Organisation (WTO),  nearly 200 RTAs  were in force at the start of 2010.1 If RTAs
currently being negotiated, signed but not yet in force, and those in the proposal stages
are taken into account, the figure exceeds 400. With the exception of perhaps fewer than
15 countries (for instance, Madagascar, San Marino and Somalia), every nation on
earth belongs to one or more RTAs. Matters were quite different as recently as a couple
of decades ago. In Asia, for instance, there was only one RTA in 1995, but by 2010
analysts were counting 61 such arrangements.2
  Of all RTAs, the EU has received the most scholarly and public attention. It is, after
all, one of the oldest and by most measures the most successful of all RTAs. But for the
most ardent of intergovernmentalists, the history of the EU has been at least in part a
history of institutionalisation. The legal system of the EU, for instance, has grown well
beyond the boundaries set by the original treaties and later agreements and treaties
both in terms of the main competences of the EU and the supremacy of EU law over
national laws. The reach of its governing entities-such as the European Commission,
the Court of Justice of the EU and the European  Parliament  have gradually and
steadily increased over time. All the while, parallel processes of policy making have
developed, such as the Open Method  of Coordination and its reliance on voluntary
policy learning across the member states, and the growing role of industry associations
in standard setting. At the national level, in turn, the traditional autonomy and integ-
rity of nation states have been challenged: participation in the EU project means
acceptance of Europeanisation (in the legal, administrative, judicial and other realms)
to at least some extent, as the experience of the recent entrants from Central and
Eastern Europe indicates.
  The initial reaction of observers to the explosion of RTAs was to account for their
impressive growth and spread and to identify and to compare their grand objectives. It

* Francesco Duina, Professor, Department of Sociology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME, USA http://
  www.bates.edulx32926.xml; and Sonia Morano-Foadi, Reader in Law and Director of the Centre for
  Legal Research and Policy Studies, School of Law, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK, http://
  www.brookes.ac.uk/.
  According to the WTO, RTAs occur whenever two or more nations (or blocs of nations) agree to liberalise
  trade across their borders via the removal of a combination of tariff and non-tariff barriers. For up-to-date
  figures, see the WTO's database on regional trading agreements available at http://rtais.wto.org/UI/
  PublicAIIRTAList.aspx (accessed 1 March 2011).
  2 G.Wignaraja and D. Lazaro, North-South vs. South-South Asian FTAs: Trends, Compatibilities, and Ways
  Forward, UNU-CRIS Working Paper Series 2010/3, 8 (2010).

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