Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas was invited to present his research at St Gallen University School of Law on 4 July 2013. The title of his presentation was “Proliferation of Regional Trade Agreements: Complementing or Supplanting Multilateralism?”.
The thesis of his presentation was that the multilateral trading system’s single undertaking is no longer feasible, hence the proliferation of regional trade agreements (RTAs) as the modus operandi for trade liberalization. His presentation also argued that RTA proliferation implies the erosion of the WTO law principle of non-discrimination, which endangers the multilateral trading system.
His presentation concluded that the proliferation of RTAs implies the erosion of the principle of non-discrimination and wonders whether this means the beginning of the end of multilateralism. It also concluded that the single undertaking is no longer feasible and suggested variable geometry and sectoral agreements as the way forward in the multilateral trading system.