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Dual WTO Notifications of RTAS with Non-Reciprocal Trade Liberalization

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  • Jong Bum Kim

Abstract

Disagreement between the parties involved in regional trade agreements (RTAs) about the legal basis of RTAs has led to dual notifications of some RTAs to the WTO. Dually notified RTAs are characterized by non-reciprocal trade liberalization between developing and developed RTA parties. If all the parties of a dually notified RTA are 'developing' countries, the RTA can find its legal basis both under Article XXIV and the Enabling Clause. In that case, the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) and the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) may both serve as forums for reviewing dually notified RTAs under the Transparency Mechanism for Regional Trade Agreements. However, if one of the parties of a dually notified RTA is a 'developed' country, the RTA's legal basis is solely in Article XXIV. To determine the development status of the parties to a dually notified RTA, the WTO should require the RTA party notifying under Article XXIV to disclose its economic development status for the purpose of the WTO review based on the 'self-selection' principle. If the party notifying under Article XXIV declares itself a 'developed' country, the CRTA would be the sole forum for the review. However, if the party declares itself a 'developing' country, both the CRTA and the CTD may serve as appropriate forums for the review. A proposal made during the Doha Round to require all RTA parties to make a joint notification under a single legal basis is inconsistent with the WTO law and would not serve the purpose of effective review of RTAs under the WTO. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jong Bum Kim, 2012. "Dual WTO Notifications of RTAS with Non-Reciprocal Trade Liberalization," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 647-672, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:15:y:2012:i:2:p:647-672
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