A recent ASIL insight highlighted the nature of world trade law making with many plurilateral agreements making their way into the quagmire of international trade law rules. For those who want to get a grip on the various trade agreement jargon and their abbreviations (TPP, TTIP, TISA, RCEP) in terms of their coverage and status, this piece is a good reckoner.
Meredith Kolsky Lewis makes an important point about dispute settlement and the various plurilateral agreements in the offing - will it lead to the disintegration of the crown jewel of the multilateral system or will it strengthen it?
"This is not a matter of great concern for disputes that solely relate to non-WTO commitments, but could raise concerns in the case of disputes featuring some WTO-overlapping provisions and some plurilateral agreement-only provisions. While it might be possible to bifurcate the dispute and bring part of it before the WTO and part of it before the plurilateral agreement's dispute settlement mechanism, the complainant might well find it more convenient to have the entire dispute resolved by the tribunal established pursuant to the terms of the plurilateral agreement. Thus the spectre of inconsistent jurisprudence may be less theoretical in the case of the new plurilateral trade agreements than the more traditional FTAs to which we have become accustomed."
Time will tell if these various plurilaterals become the basis for WTO 2.0 or will ultimately lead to the disintegration of the multilateral, rule based system. For now, let us welcome more abbreviations!