Albany Law School Professor James Gathii’s latest book, African Regional Trade Agreements as Legal Regimes (Cambridge University Press), offers the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of trade agreements between African nations, contrasting these more flexible agreements with other contemporary trade models such as NAFTA or the European Union.
According to Professor Gathii, “African regional trade agreements are unique because they are steeped in African history, politics and realities, and therefore they defy being strapped into the interpretive straitjacket of European or other non-African experiences.”
The book also examines the compatibility of African Regional Trade Agreements with WTO rules and examines the trade remedy regimes and dispute settlement mechanisms in these agreements.
In African Regional Trade Agreements as Legal Regimes, Professor Gathii argues that African regional trade agreements are not purely or exclusively trade agreements, but rather agreements that encompass a broad set of objectives. As he notes, nothing says this better than the Treaty for the Establishment of the African Economic Community, which provides that one of its purposes is to facilitate cooperation “in every field of human endeavor.”
As the Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and the Governor George E. Pataki Chair of International Commercial Law at Albany Law School in New York state, Professor Gathii’s research and expertise spans the areas of public international law, international economic law, international intellectual property and trade law, as well as on issues of good governance and legal reform as they relate to the third world and sub-Saharan Africa in particular.
Professor Gathii’s publications include War, Commerce and International Law (Oxford University Press, 2010), as well as more than 50 articles and book chapters. In addition to teaching at Albany Law School, he has taught courses at the Trade Policy Training Institute in Africa, based in Tanzania, for the past four years. He also spent a sabbatical from 2007 to 2008 in Kenya doing research and visiting as part of the University of Nairobi's Faculty of Law; during that time he also wrote a column for Business Daily (Africa), to which he still contributes.