Free trade: Legal theoretical reflections

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article challenges issues crucial to understand the nature of Regional Trade Agreements ('RTAs'). The article slightly examines the legal technicalities of RTAs (i.e. the defects of Article XXIV of the GATT). Some legal technicalities however, are mentioned briefly in the introduction to pave the road to comprehend why RTAs are worthy to explore. The bulk of examples in the article will be derived from major existing RTAs like the EU or NAFTA. Another non-major RTAs will be highlighted if they manifest a special significance such as some US Free Trade Agreements. The introductory part offers a threshold on the notion of RTAs. The introduction defines major regionalism concepts such as 'the Enabling clause' and 'Customs Unions'. No legal research on RTAs will be complete unless and until the nature of RTAs is understood. Accordingly, this article will be a ground for a deeper research on the nature of RTAs and some of its theories. Further, due to the fact the article explores issues related to globalization, it is important to stress in the introduction the difference between globalization and globalism. The former has a wide array of meanings including that nations are gradually behaving as if they were private markets operating in a global territory. The latter focuses on the role of the capitalist economy and its roles in a globalized world. All in all, the article attempts to present the tensions between regionalism, multilateralism and globalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-159
Number of pages32
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Free Trade
  • Multilateralism
  • Regionalism
  • World Trade Organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Free trade: Legal theoretical reflections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this