The Fragmentation of the Multilateral Trading System: The Impact of Regionalism on WTO Law

Musa Njabulo Shongwe


This is a study of fragmentation of the multilateral trading system through regionalism. It evaluates whether and to what extent regional trade agreements have conflicted with WTO law. The substantive and dispute settlement aspects of conflict are the main focus of this paper. Sections of this paper cover an overview of multilateralism in international trade law, the WTO as a universal regulator of world trade, the proliferation of regional trade agreements, and the general implications of regionalism in trade. The main argument presented is that the proliferation of RTAs gradually erodes the WTO’s core principle of non-discrimination, and consequently impairs the coherence of international trade law.


Fragmentation, International Trade Law, Regionalism, Regional Trade Arrangements.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Musa Njabulo Shongwe

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