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The EU, the WTO, and the NAFTATowards a Common Law of International Trade?$
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J. H. H. Weiler

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248124.001.0001

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Cain and Abel—Convergence and Divergence in International Trade Law

Cain and Abel—Convergence and Divergence in International Trade Law

(p.1) 1 Cain and Abel—Convergence and Divergence in International Trade Law
The EU, the WTO, and the NAFTA


Oxford University Press

Though created roughly in the same period, committed to similar beliefs in the virtues of liberalised trade and open markets, sharing in many instances a common legal vocabulary, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the European Union (EU) developed over the years as the Cain and Abel of international economic law. Together with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the overlapping regimes of the EU and GATT illustrate the emergence of a nascent Common Law of International Trade rooted in three phenomena. First is the fact that the very same regulatory measure may come simultaneously within the jurisdictional reach of more than one trade regime and may even be adjudicated simultaneously. Second is the fact that in the material law of disparate international trade regimes we can see considerable convergence. Third is the strengthening of private parties in all regimes — once a preserve of the EU.

Keywords:   General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement, international trade, common law, trade regime, material law

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