The effects of FTAs on the operation of the WTO: Reviews and recommendations

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Duong Anh Son, Tran Vang-Phu ORCID logo

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The primary goal of this article is to examine the positive and negative effects of free trade agreements (FTAs) on the World Trade Organization (WTO), highlighting that the current objective requirement is to reform the WTO’s operating mechanism and strengthen obligations to binding member states’ responsibilities when negotiating and signing new FTAs. This research employs comparative jurisprudence and written law analysis methods. This article is divided into four sections that address issues concerning FTAs and the WTO: 1) the history of FTAs; 2) the benefits and drawbacks of FTAs on international trade; 3) WTO members’ obligations when signing FTA, and 4) the need to reform the WTO’s current regime and what the WTO should do to control the “Spaghetti Bowl” phenomenon of FTA. The study’s findings suggest that FTAs are an inevitable trend in both the economic and political domains; FTAs should be regarded as WTO pluses; however, the WTO and its members must reform the current regulations governing the WTO’s power and member states’ obligations in negotiating and signing new FTAs. This paper will be highly useful to other scholars studying FTAs and the WTO in current global trade and the future development trend of FTAs.

Keywords: Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), World Trade Organization (WTO), Impacts, International Trade, Reviews, Recommendations

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization — D.A.S.; Methodology — D.A.S.; Formal Analysis — T.V.-P.; Investigation — T.V.-P; Resources — D.A.S.; Writing — Original Draft — T.V.-P.; Writing — Review & Editing — T.V.-P.; Supervision — D.A.S.; Project Administration — D.A.S.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

JEL Classification: K2, P2, O5

Received: 19.05.2022
Accepted: 05.12.2022
Published online: 08.12.2022

How to cite this paper: Son, D. A., & Vang Phu, T. (2022). The effects of FTAs on the operation of the WTO: Reviews and recommendations. Corporate Law & Governance Review, 4(2), 42–49.