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Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Energy Trade Governance

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Costantino Grasso, Juan Alemany

The current international energy trade governance system is fragmented and multi-layered. Streamlining it for greater legal cohesiveness and international political and economic cooperation would promote global energy security. The current article explores three levels of energy trade governance: multilateral, regional and bilateral. Most energy-rich countries are part of the multilateral trading system, which is institutionalized by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The article analyses the multilateral energy trade governance system by focusing on the WTO and energy transportation issues. Regionally, the article focuses on five major regional agreements and their energy-related aspects and examines the various causes that explain the proliferation of regional trade agreements, their compatibility with WTO law, and then provides several examples of regional energy trade governance throughout the world. When it comes to bilateral energy trade governance, this article only addresses the European Union’s (EU) bilateral energy trade relations. The article explores ways in which gaps could be filled and overlaps eliminated whilst remaining true to the high-level normative framework, concentrating on those measures that would enhance EU energy security.

Reader in European and International Economic Law, Queen Mary University of London (Centre for Commercial Law Studies), United Kingdom. Ph.D. (European University Institute, Florence); JSM (Stanford Law School); LL.M. (Columbia Law School); M.Phil. (London School of Economics and Political Science); BA, LL.B. (Granada University). Member of the Madrid Bar. Author of the books INTERNATIONAL ENERGY GOVERNANCE: SELECTED LEGAL ISSUES (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014); CLIMATE CHANGE AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013); INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT LAW: MULTILATERAL, REGIONAL AND BILATERAL GOVERNANCE (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010) and THEORY AND PRACTICE OF EC EXTERNAL TRADE LAW AND POLICY (Cameron May, 2008). Contact:
Research Associate, Queen Mary University of London (Centre for Commercial Law Studies). Ph.D. (University of Naples); LL.M. (Queen Mary University of London); International Research Fellow (Depaul University, Chicago). Qualified to practise as a solicitor in England and Wales, and as a lawyer in Italy. Email:
Research Associate, Queen Mary University of London (Centre for Commercial Law Studies). LL.M. (in European Law) (Queen Mary University of London); LL.B. (Université Catholique de Louvain). Contact:


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