Regional economic and political groupings are considered as the defining feature of the contemporary international climate. The requirements of sustainable development have always posed obligations on States to share their expertise, experience and resources through mutual cooperation mechanisms for the achievement of regional integration and complementarity.
Grouping is not limited to developing and emerging countries, but developed countries have always taken the lead to be the precursors of this approach, which has enabled them to abolish geographical boundaries, expand the size of common markets, and encourage the mobility of foreign goods and foreign capital. The great challenge facing any regional grouping today is to create harmony between a group of countries with multiple peculiarities, while preserving and developing economic, social and political relations between them. Hence, the role played by treaties and conventions in framing bilateral and multilateral relations within the international or regional groupings is then highlighted, including setting the legal bases, identifying the parties who would settle disputes and their jurisdiction, and avoiding problems and conflicts between the national laws of the Member States.
If economic integration constitutes the cornerstone of any regional grouping, legal complementarity is the starting point to achieve this goal. Indeed, each grouping includes States that may actually belong to different legal families with traditions and specificities that distinguish them from each other at the level of judicial and justice systems, which raises the question of national legal specificity and its relationship to the regional economic integration. This causes some reservations by States that wish to join the grouping, especially in terms of legal and judicial bases. In spite of the significant opportunities offered by regional economic integration, Member States are required to abandon national legal provisions and practices that have been in place for many years, and replace them with new ones, that may even limit the jurisdiction of their courts, or even make them fail to decide disputes of investment nature.
To address the above-mentioned concerns, it is necessary to modernize regional legal systems by unifying national laws and harmonizing them with laws of groupings, in addition to developing judicial systems in a manner that achieves judicial and legal security, enhances trust of investors in the host countries and contributes to the business climate by developing a successful and strong private sector, which would be capable of facilitating trade between countries.
Having said that, it is important to highlight that Axis IV is significant since it tackles a variety of important topics and issues related to stakes of regional grouping as well as laws and legal systems related to business and investments:
- Regional economic groupings: legal and judicial bases and pillars.
- Influence of regional groupings on national legal and judicial systems.
- Limits of State reserves to join regional groupings.
- Harmonization and unification of national trade laws as a prerequisite for successful economic grouping which could attract foreign investment.
- Modernization of the international legal system and the harmonization and standardization of trade laws at the international level.
- Economic groupings: controversy of harmonization of the national legal specificity with opportunities of regional economic integration.