Multilateral, regional and bilateral energy trade governance

Rafael Leal-Arcas, Costantino Grasso, Juan Alemany Rios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 analyzes 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-87
Number of pages50
JournalRenewable Energy Law & Policy Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Energy
  • Trade
  • International Trade
  • Energy security
  • energy sector


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